Thailand Political Turmoil:
Samak’s comeback unlikely, no end in sight for crisis
September 10, 2008
Ruling party to bring back disqualified premier
September 9, 2008
Court verdict may force PM Samak to resign
Govt MPs vow to get Samak back into office
September 8, 2008
Thailand Political Stalemate:
Samak plans UN trip, shrugs off coup risk
Planned mobile cabinet raises concerns
September 7, 2008
Thailand political stalemate hits economy, business
September 6, 2008
Thailand political stalemate:
Samak mulls ending ineffective state of emergency
Govt referendum seen as a non-starter
September 5, 2008
Thailand political crisis:
PM Samak resorts to referendum
Opposition sees it as unconstitutional
September 4, 2008
Thailand political turmoil:
PM Samak holds out amidst resignation rumours
Political uncertainty hit stocks in Malaysia and Thailand
September 3, 2008
Thailand under state of emergency:
Strikes yet to bite as deadlock continues
Politics takes the centre stage
September 12, 2008
Thailand political stalemate:
MPs’ boycott foils attempt to re-elect Samak
Thailand's parliament has postponed until Wednesday a vote to elect a new prime minister after it failed to obtain a quorum in the House of Representatives, reported the Associated Press.
The low turnout was the result of a boycott by the opposition Democrat Party and some coalition partners of the ruling party to protest ousted leader Samak Sundaravej's decision to re-contest the post.
He was booted out Tuesday by the Constitutional Court for breaching a conflict of interest law.
Samak’s People’s Power Party backed him Friday to resume the prime ministership, but support from coalition allies eroded a day ahead of a parliamentary vote.
Opponents of Samak Sundaravej said returning him to office - or even selecting one of his supporters - would intensify protests by the People's Alliance for Democracy, whose members seized the prime ministerial office complex more than two weeks ago.
Some analysts warned that Samak's re-election could bring instability, economic chaos and even a military coup.
The ruling party vowed to nominate Samak for prime minister at a Parliament session Friday, just three days after the Constitutional Court ordered him to step down over a conflict of
interest involving hosting a television cooking show after taking office.
"I believe no member of the party will vote against the party's decision, though it is their right to vote for anyone they like," party spokesman Kuthep Saikrajang said.
But with Samak under attack as an alleged pawn of disgraced former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, defections by some members of his own party as well as the five other parties in the governing coalition raised doubts about his re-election.
The People's Power Party has 233 lawmakers in the 480-seat Parliament, but 10 are disqualified from voting, leaving it 18 short of a majority.
The other five parties in the coalition control 83 seats, while the opposition Democrat Party has 164 seats.
Samak's endorsement by his own party drew a tepid response from some allied lawmakers.
"We honor the core party's nomination, but we think the new prime minister should be someone who can help resolve the political crisis," Somsak Prisana-anantakul of the Chart Thai Party, the
coalition's second largest, told reporters.
Sixteen lawmakers from Samak's party told reporters they would not vote for him. The group said it spoke for 70 party colleagues, but this could not be immediately confirmed.
Several alternatives to Samak have been touted by press and politicians, including three from his party: acting Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, a brother-in-law of Thaksin; Sompong
Amornwiwat, the justice minister; and Surapong Seubwonglee, the finance minister and a Thaksin confidante.
If the coalition fractured, Abhisit Vejjajiva of the opposition Democrat Party could become a viable candidate. Abhisit previously suggested he would be willing to lead a nonpartisan unity
government of all parties.
Earlier Thursday, the current chief of Thailand's army, which ousted Thaksin in a 2006 coup, urged all political parties to form a unity administration.
Gen Anupong Paochinda also said the caretaker government should lift a state of emergency that Samak imposed September 2 after a night of street fighting between government supporters and opponents.
He told reporters the decree was hurting the economy.
The confrontation between the protest movement and the government "will surely sharpen if Parliament voted to appoint Samak back as prime minister," said Teerana Pongmakhapat, a lecturer in political economy at Chulalongkorn University. "However, I don't think that the situation will be better if Sompong, Somchai or Surapong is endorsed."
The People's Alliance for Democracy launched its protests seeking to pressure Samak into resigning, accusing him of being a stooge of Thaksin, who recently fled to Britain to avoid corruption
The group also complains that the ruling party is kept in power by Thailand's poor rural majority, which the alliance says is easily swayed by vote-buying.