( dpa )- Coup-maker General Sonthi Boonyaratkalin has warned Thailand's soon-to-return, military-ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra not to make the "same mistakes" that prompted the putsch that toppled him 16 months ago, media reports said Tuesday.
"If he makes the same mistakes, people will demonstrate against him in the streets again," warned Sonthi in an interview with the Bangkok Post.
Sonthi , who headed the junta that overthrew Thaksin and his cabinet on September 19, 2006, is now a deputy prime minister in a military-appointed cabinet which will soon make way for a new elected government.
Thailand held a general election on December 23 that saw the People Power Party (PPP), campaigning on a platform to bring back Thaksin , winning more than 230 of the 480 contested seats.
A PPP-led coalition cabinet is expected to be in place by mid-February.
Thaksin , who was been living in self-exile since the coup, has indicated that he will return to Thailand in April to face several corruption charges against him.
Thaksin , a former police officer turned telecommunication billionaire who introduced populist policies to Thailand's traditional money-politics scene, was toppled by a coup in September 2006 on charges of corruption, dividing the nation and committing lese majeste .
While Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai (TRT) Party had garnered a firm majority in parliament thanks to populist handouts that appealed to the rural poor, he antagonized the Bangkok-based middle class and elite with his authoritarian rule and self-serving economic policies.
In particular, Thaksin's 2-billion-dollar tax-free sale of the family-founded Shin Corp telecommunication empire in March 2006 to Singapore's Temasek Holdings irked Bangkokians and prompted street demonstrations against his rule. The escalating political crisis eventually led to a military coup, Thailand's 18th, that has ultimately failed to prevent Thaksin from making a comeback via the PPP, deemed a proxy party for the now defunct Thai Rak Thai.
With Thaksin's backers now in power it is widely believed the new government will take legal action against the coup-makers who ousted him.
"I believe in Police Lieutenant-Colonel Thaksin's good character. But I am not quite so sure about other people," said Sonthi .
But Sonthi expressed no regrets about staging the 2006 coup.
"The coup was unavoidable because of the divisions in the country, the interference in independent organisations , the lese majeste charges and the lack of confidence in the leadership," he told the Bangkok Post. "I had to do it. The seizure of power was not a waste of time."