Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Thai president jailed on Tuesday after returning to his country from a 15-year self-imposed exile, was transferred at midnight Wednesday to a Bangkok hospital. Barely 12 hours after entering preventive detention to begin serving his eight-year sentence, the politician and businessman was hospitalized after suffering from hypertension and showing low levels of oxygen in his blood, authorities reported on Wednesday. At the moment, the state of health of the billionaire founder of the populist Pheu Thai party, whose candidate, Srettha Thavisin, received the support of Parliament on Tuesday to become the new prime minister, is unknown.
The Department of Penitentiary Institutions of Thailand has notified, through a statement released by the Bangkok Post, that the former prime minister began to feel unwell on Tuesday afternoon and, around 01:00 in the morning (8:00 p.m. on Tuesday in mainland Spain), was transferred to the Police Hospital in the Thai capital. Thaksin Shinawatra, who landed that same morning in the country’s capital after 15 years in exile and was immediately escorted to jail, had been quarantining in a hospitalized area of Bangkok Remand prison since midday.
A few hours later, he experienced insomnia, chest pressure, hypoxemia and hypertension and, since he suffers from various chronic diseases, including heart and lung diseases, the police authorities opted for the transfer as a precautionary measure, since they did not have the prison of the necessary medical equipment, they point out in the statement. The Royal Police have indicated that the doctor who examined him determined that he required “urgent transfer” to hospital. The room where he is admitted is guarded by agents, as specified in the text.
End the political blockade
The return of Thailand’s most influential politician stole the spotlight on the Parliament session in which brick tycoon Srettha Thavisin was elected Prime Minister, thus ending the political deadlock that this Southeast Asian nation had been experiencing since the elections on 14 May. Some analysts consider that the return of the former prime minister has been part of a ploy so that the party linked to the Shinawatra clan, Pheu Thai, which came second in the elections, would achieve the necessary support to form a government. Only a day earlier, Pheu Thai had announced a grand coalition that includes two formations linked to the military, despite being historical rivals: the army overthrew the government of Thaksin Shinawatra in a coup in 2006, and that of her sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, in 2014.
The tycoon, who had been in exile since 2008 – most of the time, in Dubai – was tried in absentia by the Supreme Court and sentenced to serve eight-year sentences for three different crimes, for abuse of power and conflict of interest . He has always denied these accusations and assured that it is a political persecution.
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Thaksin Shinawatra’s return to Thailand, as well as the meteoric and surprisingly quiet rise of Srettha (he made his political debut just a few months ago), is raising speculation that the 74-year-old former leader has struck a deal with his enemies in the military to Get out of jail soon. Both Shinawatra and the Pheu Thai deny such allegations. However, criticism against him has grown on social networks; the younger voters accuse him of cynicism and of seeking his own interest by agreeing with the military spheres.
The general elections made clear the Thai people’s resounding rejection of the generals who have ruled since the 2014 coup. The reformist party Advance won the most seats and votes after promising that the military would stop interfering in politics and that the lèse majeste law The formation of the until then prime minister and ex-coup general, Prayauth Chan-Ocha, fell to fifth place.
On Tuesday, the Correctional Institutions Department reported that Thaksin Shinawatra could apply for a royal clemency from his first day in jail, in accordance with current regulations for convicted prisoners. It is possible that, for medical reasons, he will receive more leniency.
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