BANGKOK — Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha wasn’t the only Thai premier in recent history to have held an audience with Pope Francis – Yingluck Shinawatra did so six years ago as well.
Then-PM Yingluck met the Pope at the Vatican City on Sep. 13, 2013, when the pair discussed freedom of religions and roles of Catholics in Thailand, among other topics. Yingluck’s trip was the first visit to the Holy See by a Thai government leader in over 50 years.
It was also in this meeting that Yingluck formally invited Pope Francis to visit Thailand, though no dates were set at the time.
During her discussion with the Pope, the Thai premier said the Catholic Church “influenced the world and humanity.” The Pope then praised Thailand for its commitment to freedom of worship.
Yingluck was later stripped of her premiership by a court order in May 2014 amid anti-government street protests. The military staged a coup against the remnants of her government on May 22 that year.