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Samak’s exit unlikely to end turmoil

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Thailand political stalemate:
Samak’s exit unlikely to end turmoil

Thailand’s ousted prime minister Samak Sundaravej has abandoned his bid to regain his job, but the long-running political stalemate is likely to continue, reports from various agencies indicate.

The ruling People’s Power Party (PPP) began a search for a new prime minister candidate after Samak said he would also give up party leadership but anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) demanded the entire Cabinet, which they accused of being the proxy of Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister who was now in exile in Britain.

Thaksin, who recently fled to Britain while facing corruption charges, was ousted in a 2006 coup after street demonstrations by the PAD.

The ruling party's shortlist of candidates includes acting Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, who was deputy prime minister and education minister in Samak’s Cabinet and is a brother-in-law of Thaksin; Justice Minister Sompong Amornwiwat; and Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee, a confidante of Thaksin.

The House of Representatives was supposed to pick a new prime minister on Friday, but failed to do so after not enough members showed up to hold a valid vote. The vote was rescheduled for Wednesday.

Suriyasai Katasila, a spokesman for the PAD, said they were not appeased by Samak's decision, the Associated Press reported.

"We will still carry on our protest and call for the resignation of the whole Cabinet after Samak has stepped down. The government is a proxy, a puppet, for Thaksin Shinawatra and his legacy which we have seen as an evil system for this country," he told the news agency.

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