Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be eligible for parole in February, according to an official statement. Thaksin, who has been living in self-imposed exile since 2008, was convicted of corruption in 2008 and sentenced to two years in prison.
Thaksin’s eligibility for parole comes as a result of a change in Thailand’s laws regarding parole eligibility for prisoners convicted of corruption. Under the new law, prisoners convicted of corruption are eligible for parole after serving one-third of their sentence, instead of one-half as previously mandated.
Thaksin, a polarizing figure in Thai politics, was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and subsequently convicted of corruption in absentia. He has remained a prominent and influential figure in Thai politics despite living outside of the country.
While Thaksin is eligible for parole in February, it is uncertain whether he will choose to return to Thailand. Although Thaksin has expressed a desire to return, he faces pending charges and is still viewed as a divisive figure by some in the Thai political establishment.
Thailand has been marked by political unrest and division in recent years, with Thaksin’s supporters and opponents engaging in frequent and sometimes violent clashes. The prospect of Thaksin’s return could potentially exacerbate these tensions as the country continues to grapple with the aftermath of a military coup in 2014.
In addition to his political influence, Thaksin is also a wealthy businessman, having amassed a fortune in the telecommunications industry before entering politics. His wealth and stature have likely played a significant role in his ability to remain a prominent figure despite his legal troubles.
The exact details of Thaksin’s parole conditions and any potential limitations on his political activities upon his return to Thailand are unclear at this time. However, his potential return will undoubtedly be closely watched by both his supporters and opponents as the country’s political landscape continues to evolve.