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THAILAND
Politics
August 25, 2007
Veteran politician to lead proxy of Thaksin's defunct party


A 72-year-old veteran politician was elected Friday to head a little-known political party that has admitted some 300 members of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party.

Samak Sundaravej, a former Bangkok governor, said he wants to help bring democracy back to Thailand.

He joined the Palang Prachachon Party (People's Power Party) with hopes of helping former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a bloodless coup in September last year.

In May, Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai Party was disbanded for electoral fraud committed last year, with Thaksin and over 100 executive members of the party banned from all elections in the next five years.

Several factions that defected from Thaksin's party after the coup have also tried to regroup. Some of them have said they would set up a new party next week while some others have indicated they would revive old entities.

Samak was a Democrat Party member during 1968-1976. He eventually founded the Prachakorn Thai Party (Thai Citizenship Party) which had a stronghold in Bangkok. Kyodo news reports

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