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Thai PM agrees to censure debate


June 22, 2008

Thai PM agrees to censure debate
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej in his television address to the country on Sunday insisted he would not resign but would allow the no-confidence debate by the opposition Democrat Party.

"The decision to allow the debates is meant to end the (political) unrest as they want to see changes. This could be seen from the motions. All ministers who are to be grilled in the parliament are members of the People Power Party," said Samak.

Suriyasai Katsila, a spokesman for the anti-government alliance, said the parliamentary debate would not be enough.

"The People's Alliance for Democracy believes that the government's decision to allow a no-confidence motion in Parliament is a political game to lessen tension. But the decision has come too late," Suriyasai said.

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Suriyasai said that even Samak's resignation would not be enough because the protesters want his People's Power Party, which was merely a replica of Thaksin's earlier party, to be rooted out.

The Democrats claimed in their censure motion that the Samak government is a weak, ineffective and corrupt stand-in for the deposed government of Mr. Thaksin Shinawatra.

The Democrat Party's censure motion aimed to prompt government as well as opposition MPs to cast no-confidence votes against Samak and the seven other ministers.

Samak, who promised to quit if the he lost the no-confidence vote, remained defiant in the face of anti-government protesters who have surrounded his office, vowing to oust him.

Thousands of demonstrators who broke through a police cordon on Friday continued to occupy the area around Thailand's seat of government. The protesters, led by the People's Alliance for Democracy movement, claim Samak's government is a proxy for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup.

"I will not bow to your pressure. I will pull out only if I am defeated by a vote in Parliament," Samak said, addressing the protesters in his TV speech.

Samak's coalition partners, who control about two-thirds of the seats in the lower house of Parliament, would have to desert him for the motion to pass.
The prime minister earlier said that it was not appropriate to debate the government's performance during this extraordinary session as its priority was to consider the budget.

Speaking during the his weekly TV address, ‘Talk Samak Style’, Samak also threatens to hold street protests like what being carried out by the People's Alliance for Democracy if the change of political power takes place.

He said he would like to see what would happen to the country if he organises street protests against the new government like what the PAD is doing. "I also have my supporters," he added.


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