23 May 2024

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra jokingly told Pheu Thai party’s ministers that he could hold a cabinet meeting in Chiang Mai today, because there were 18 of them attending a dinner with him.

Among the Pheu Thai ministers in attendance this evening were Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew, Transport Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, Deputy Transport Ministers Manaporn Charoensri and Surapong Piyachote, Deputy Agriculture Minister Chaiya Promma. Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, Digital Economy and Society Minister Prasert Jantararuangtong, Tourism and Sports Minister Sudawan Wangsuphakijkosol, PM’s Office Minister Puangpetch Chunla-iad, Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang, Deputy Interior Minister Kriang Kaltinan, Culture Minister Sermsak Pongpanich and Deputy Finance Minister Julapun Amornvivat.

They were also joined by former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, Thaksin’s brother Payap, sister Yaowapa and several Pheu Thai MPs.

Greeting the Pheu Thai ministers, the former prime minister, who is currently out of prison on parole, asked whether they should hold a cabinet meeting as there are 18 ministers present.

Thaksin explained that 18 means more than half of the cabinet, which are enough to make a quorum for cabinet meeting.

Nevertheless, he said he had no right to hold a cabinet meeting, despite there being a quorum.

Earlier, Thaksin visited Phra That Doi Suthep Temple, to pay respects to the Buddha image there and to make merit at Songkran.

He told reporters that his health has improved steadily after spending time at home on parole, which is in contrast to the period when he was in the Police General Hospital, when he didn’t feel like doing anything.

He said he is not worried about the criticism that he pretended to be seriously ill when he was in the hospital, adding that when they become sick, they would like to recover like him.

Asked by reporters about his sister, former prime minister Yingluck is still living in exile abroad, Thaksin said he hopes she will be able to return home to celebrate the next Songkran.

He said he has no idea through which channel Yingluck could return home, adding that her legal case is not as complicated as his.