Thai King strips Thaksin of royal decorations

BANGKOK • Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn has revoked the royal decorations of billionaire former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, citing his conviction and "extremely inappropriate" flight from the country, according to an announcement.

The statement published yesterday in the Royal Gazette from the King comes almost a week after the country held its first election since a military coup in 2014 installed a royalist junta.

The Pheu Thai Party, which is linked to Thaksin, is now jostling with the junta-backed Palang Pracharath Party for the right to form a government.

Thaksin told Agence France-Presse in an interview last week that the election was "rigged".

The royal statement said the King "recalls the royal decorations" from the former premier "because Mr Thaksin was convicted by the Supreme Court".

"Moreover, he has fled the kingdom, which is extremely inappropriate behaviour."

Thaksin was stripped of the "illustrious order of Chula Chom Klao", typically bestowed for service to the country.

 
 
 

He was ousted in a 2006 coup and fled the country in 2008. He was convicted in Thailand on corruption charges.

His sister Yingluck became prime minister in 2011 before being removed in the coup three years later.

King Vajiralongkorn had issued an announcement on the eve of the election calling for Thais to support "good" people to prevent "chaos" - a declaration replayed right before polls opened last Sunday.

The monarch also sent jitters across the country last month after a party linked to the Shinawatras nominated Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya as a candidate for prime minister - which he swiftly called "inappropriate" in a royal rebuke.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 31, 2019, with the headline 'Thai King strips Thaksin of royal decorations'. Print Edition | Subscribe