Thaksin Shinawatra to watch Thai vote from Hong Kong: lawyer
( AFP ) - Ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will keep tabs on this weekend's general elections in Thailand, the first since last year's coup forced him out of power, from Hong Kong, his lawyer said Monday.
Thaksin is expected to travel to Hong Kong for a business trip. He was to arrive by Thursday, his lawyer Noppadon Pattama said.
Since the military toppled his government in September 2006, the billionaire politico has been living in self-imposed exile in Britain, where he has bought the Manchester City football club.
Noppadon insisted that Thaksin was not coming to Asia just to monitor the Thai elections on Sunday, but acknowledged that being in the region would make it easier for him to follow news about the vote.
"He can get news wherever he stays, but of course the short distance is better," he said.
The military has accused Thaksin of wide-ranging corruption during his five years in power, but has so far failed to convict him on any charges.
Army-appointed authorities have frozen about two billion dollars worth of his assets, disbanded his once-powerful Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) party, and banned Thaksin from politics.
However, his allies have regrouped as the People Power Party led by a veteran politician, Samak Sundaravej, who is openly campaigning as Thaksin's frontman.
The party is one of the frontrunners in the election, although no party is expected to win a clear majority of the 480 parliamentary seats up for grabs.