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House dissolution a possibility

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Thailand Political Stalemate:
House dissolution a possibility
Ruling party divided over prime minister nomination

Thailand's ruling People Power Party on Monday nominated a brother-in-law of ousted former leader Thaksin Shinawatra to be the next prime minister, which is unlikely to end the long-running political uncertainty.

Local media and wire news reports said the selection of Somchai Wongsawat, 61, who has been acting prime minister since last week, when the Constitutional Court dismissed Samak Sundaravej for violating the Constitution, is facing opposition from a faction.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to elect Samak's successor on Wednesday, but the division in the People Power Party could lead to house dissolution, local press reports said.

The nomination of Thaksin’s brother-in-law as a new prime minister has been rejected by the People Alliance for Democracy, the anti-government protesters occupying Government House since August 26. They have accused ousted prime minister Samak of being a puppet for Thaksin.

Last Friday, the house failed to elect a new prime minister as coalition parties refused to reelect Samak.

After days of closed-door talks, the executive committee of the People's Power Party agreed to nominate acting Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat who served as deputy prime minister and education minister under Samak government.

On Sunday, Somchai lifted a state of emergency that Samak imposed two weeks ago after a night of violent street clashes between government supporters and opponents. One man was killed and dozens were injured in the fighting.

Local media reported that the ruling party is in danger of a rebellion by a key faction led by Newin Chidchob, which controls 73 MPs, who have vowed that they would not vote for Somchai.

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