Ex-minister forms Thai opposition group from exile
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Ex-minister forms Thai opposition group from exile

BANGKOK (AP) — A Cabinet minister in Thailand’s former elected government has established a group in exile to oppose the military regime.

Former Interior Minister Charupong Reuangsuwan said Tuesday in an open letter read on YouTube and posted on Facebook that the Organization of Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy rejects the junta’s legitimacy.

Charupong led the Pheu Thai Party that won the 2011 election. Its opponents launched aggressive street protests last year to demand it hand over power to an appointed government that would make reforms.

The army ousted the elected government in a coup on May 22, and Charupong defied its order to surrender, apparently fleeing to neighboring Cambodia.

The junta has threatened its opponents with harsh jail terms.

In his statement, Charupong outlined the following goals:

1. To oppose the military dictatorship and its aristocratic network, and establish the people’s complete and unchallenged sovereignty;

2. To restore and strengthen Thai democracy so that it becomes the stable founding pillar of the Thai state;

3. To guarantee and nurture respect for human dignity, equality, freedom, and peace;

4. To promote a free and fair economy;

5. To reform Thai culture so that its values are fully consistent with democracy;

6. To fully develop and improve the quality of life for all Thai citizens.