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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           6   July  2011

Pheu Thai will not appoint exiled former PM trade envoy

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The Pheu Thai Party is expected to appoint exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as a government trade envoy to promote Thai exports, which will enable him to freely travel the world. But the story was later denied.

A party source said that when a Pheu Thai-led coalition government is formed and cabinet ministers are appointed, the party would entrust Thaksin with the role of a trade envoy to help his youngest sister Yingluck Shinawatra, who looks set to become the prime minister, handle her responsibilities.

Thaksin has well-established connections with corporate executives and leaders of foreign countries and also possesses the business acumen to make bargains and boost trade ties with other nations, some people say.

As a trade envoy, Thaksin could use his experience abroad during his self-imposed exile to help the government promote trade ties without getting directly involved in politics at home, the source said.

Thaksin's expected trade promotion role will also enable him to travel freely anywhere in the world, the source said.

Noppadon Pattama, Thaksin's legal adviser, yesterday did not rule out the possibility of Thaksin's new role as a trade envoy.

The former prime minister has what it takes to measure up to the task, Mr. Noppadon said. The new government can appoint him as a trade envoy straight away as the position of trade envoy is not a political one, Mr Noppadon said.

If Thaksin is given the position, he can travel to other countries using a passport issued by Montenegro, Mr. Noppadon said.

The rumor about ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra being tipped for the position of Thailand trade envoy was groundless, legal adviser Noppadon Pattama said later on July 6.

"Rumour mongers wanted to cause confustion and divisiveness," he said, insisting Pheu Thai Party had not planned for a Thaksin appointment.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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