BANGKOK (AFP) - Thailand’s new junta ordered former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and three other relatives of controversial billionaire-turned-politician Thaksin Shinawatra to report to military authorities on Friday.
The summons appeared to broaden the scope of those called in by leaders of a military coup staged Thursday, after an earlier request for ministers in Thailand’s now-deposed government to report to the armed forces.
A bulletin read out on national television said Yingluck, Thaksin’s younger sister who was dismissed as premier this month in a contentious court ruling, must present herself at 10:00 am (0300 GMT) Friday.
The junta also ordered the presence of her brother-in-law, former premier Somchai Wongsawat, and two other relatives, “in order to maintain peace and smoothly solve national problems.”
It gave no hint of what might happen after their appearances. They were among 23 members of the Puea Thai party – in power until Thursday’s coup – summoned by the military.
The exiled Thaksin, a former prime minister himself, along with his family and allies have been at the centre of a bitter power struggle lasting nearly a decade, pitting forces sympathetic to him against a Bangkok-based royalist bloc.
Puea Thai or previous Thaksin-aligned parties have won every election since 2001, to the growing alarm of the military-allied royalists. Despite going into exile two years after he was deposed in a 2006 army coup, Thaksin retains strong support in rural Thailand.
Army chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha seized power and announced curbs on civil liberties Thursday, saying he acted to quell months of deadly political turmoil stemming from Bangkok protests by the anti-Thaksin bloc.