A Thai official says former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will return from exile on Thursday, nearly 18 months after being ousted in a bloodless military coup.

Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama made the announcement to reporters Tuesday in Bangkok, but did not release any further details.

Mr. Thaksin's official Web site urges supporters to greet him at the airport on Thursday morning.

The former prime minister faces corruption charges on his return. He denies the allegations.

The prospect of Mr. Thaksin's return to Thailand has been increasing since the People's Power Party, which is packed with allies of the former prime minister, won the general elections last December.

Mr. Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party was disbanded after the military coup and the PPP became his party's political heir. More than 100 members of the Thai Rak Thai party, including Mr. Thaksin, have been banned from politics for five years.

Thailand's Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej says he will work to lift a political ban against Mr. Thaksin, but will not interfere in the corruption case against him.


Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.