Many Thais Expect Former Premier to Choose Exile Over Trial

BANGKOK (DPA) — Former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra's scheduled trip to Europe this week has triggered intense speculation about whether she will go into foreign exile, reports said Sunday.

Yingluck, who was ousted as the first female prime minister by a court decision shortly before a military coup in May, insisted that she intends to return from her European holiday by August 10.

The ruling junta granted Yingluck permission to leave the country on a holiday with her son on Thursday.  

On the same day, the National Anti-Corruption Commission found her guilty of negligence in the management of a rice-subsidy scheme that was riddled with corruption. The case is expected to be forwarded to prosecutors for indictment and trial.

If found guilty she could face a jail term of up to 10 years.

Results of a national poll published Sunday showed that 41 per cent of the population believe she intends to remain abroad after celebrating the birthday of her brother Thaksin, another former premier who is a fugitive avoiding a two-year jail term for corruption following his ouster in a 2006 coup.

About 39 per cent said they believed that she will return, while 19 per cent declined to state an opinion, according to the July 18-19 nationwide survey of 1,247 people by the Nida Poll of the National Institute of Development Association.