Ousted Thai Leader Returns From Exile

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra made an emotional return Thursday, preaching reconciliation and forgiveness in a country still polarized by his five years in office.

"We can certainly have various opinions on various things, but we shall not be divided," the former telecoms tycoon told a packed news conference.

"It will be best for all of us to reduce our ego, and our prejudice," he said.

However, few Thais believe the 58-year-old's mantra that he is returning only to clear himself of corruption charges and to spend quality time with his family after 18 months of exile imposed by a September 2006 coup.

Already the People's Alliance for Democracy, which led the protest marches that culminated in the coup, has warned Thaksin not to use his clout to sway the corruption cases against him and his wife.

"If we find they are trying to intervene in the judicial process ... we will not sit idly by," a spokesman said.