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Thai opposition to censure PM, 7 ministers


June 18, 2008

Thai opposition to censure PM, 7 ministers
The political temperature in the Thai capital is heating up as the opposition Democrat Party is expected to continue pressing the government Wednesday morning by filing a motion of no-confidence against Prime Minister in parliament, designed to help bring down the government, reported state news agency TNA.

At the same time, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), a protest alliance born amid attempts to bring down the former government of Thaksin Shinawatra, currently demonstrating on Rajdamneon Avenue in front of the United National regional headquarters, promises to carry its revised campaign against the government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

Both the Democrats and the PAD state their belief that the Samak government is a weak, ineffective and corrupt stand-in for the deposed government of Thaksin.

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Despite a string of charges - mainly dealing with alleged poor performance and failure to cope with the ongoing economic and other unresolved problems, the spokesman said, the core complaint may be that of offering apparent undue servitude to a previous government.

The Democrat Party's censure motion, scheduled to be submitted to House Speaker Chai Chidchob at 10.30 Wednesday morning in parliament, aims to prompt government as well as opposition MPs to cast no-confidence votes against Samak and the seven other ministers after a marathon censure debate, expected to take place by June 28 or by the end of the current extraordinary House session.

Opposition party spokesman Ong-art Khlampaibul said the seven cabinet portfolio bearers targeted alongside the premier included Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee, Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Mingkwan Saengsuwan, Transport Minister Santi Prompat, Deputy Transport Minister Songsak Thongsri, Justice Minister Sompong Amornwiwat, Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama and Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung.

Only a few Democrat MPs would take the floor to voice the censure charges against each of the seven ministers, he said.

The prime minister, concurrently head of the ruling People Power Party, will be grilled during the censure debate on grounds that he allegedly had run the country without visible leadership. The Democrat charges that the prime minister had "obviously" sought to serve hidden interests of a once-powerful person and endorsed constitutional amendment bids "only to return favours to a particular, hidden supporter" who stood behind Samak's political aims, rather than the prime minister himself.

The Democrats apparently referred to Samak's predecessor, deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, stating that Samak chose persons of poor judgment, incompetence and lack of expertise as members of his cabinet to run varied portfolios of government.

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