Thai ex-PM says does not want to return to power

DUBAI, July 4, 2011 (AFP) - Former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra said on Monday that he does not want to return to power, after his sister Yingluck won a landslide general election victory.

"I've been with the party too long, and I really want to retire. Actually, I announced when I was in office that I planned to retire when I was 60," Thaksin told reporters at his home in self-imposed exile in Dubai. "I'm 62. It's long overdue for me.

AFP - Thai former premier Thaksin Shinawatra gestures during a briefing in Dubai on July 4, 2011.

"Going back (to Thailand) is not necessarily to be going back to politics," he said, joking that he might become a professional golfer.

Asked if he wanted to be prime minister again, Thaksin said: "No."

Thaksin, who was ousted in a bloodless coup in 2006, said reconciliation takes precedence over any return to Thailand.

"Going back home is not a major concern. It is not a priority," he said. "The top priority is to bring back reconciliation."

Thaksin thanked the Thai people for voting for his sister.

"I am very grateful for the Thai people that they really come out to voice their concern about the country. It is very clear that they want to see reconciliation in the country, they want to see an end to the conflict, and they want to see the country moving forward," he said.

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