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Ruling party to select PM candidate today

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Thailand Political Stalemate:
Ruling party to select PM candidate today

Protests against the ‘proxy’ govt to continue
Thailand's caretaker acting Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat lifted a state of emergency in Bangkok on Sunday while the People’s Power Party (PPP), which leads the 6-party coalition government, reportedly plans to put him forward today as a prime minister candidate, local and wire reports said.

The lower house is scheduled to vote for the new prime minister Wednesday, which is expected to be followed by a major cabinet reshuffle.

Anti-government protesters, who had occupied the government house since August 26, and throughout the 12-day state of emergency since September 2, vowed Sunday to continue their protests as long as the PPP, which they accuse of protecting the interests of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, is in power.

"Removing the state of emergency has no effect on our rally because it does not solve the current problems in Thai politics," Parnthep Wongpuapan, a spokesman for the anti-government People's Alliance for Democracy. "We will stay here and we will continue calling for the current system to be cleaned up."

The PPP had hoped to renominate Samak when Parliament convened last Friday in an initial attempt to choose his successor. But the vote was boycotted by 70 party members and PPP's coalition partners. Samak has since withdrawn his bid for a new term.

The protesters had denounced Samak for being a proxy of Thaksin, who apparently has kept in touch with the ruling party politicians.

Thaksin had called all leaders of PPP factions from London, where he and his family are seeking political asylum, to back his brother-in-law Somchai as the next premier, local daily the Nation reported quoting a PPP source.

Thaksin is now in Britain to escape from corruption charges while former prime minister Samak Sundaravej was unseated by the Constitutional Court last Tuesday for violating the charter by hosting cooking shows on commercial television programmes while in office.

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