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Samak’s comeback unlikely, no end in sight for crisis

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Thailand Political Turmoil:
Samak’s comeback unlikely, no end in sight for crisis

Leading members of Thailand's People Power Party dismissed Wednesday an earlier announcement that Samak Sundaravej would be reelected prime minister while a veteran politician from a small coalition member indicated the PPP should choose someone else as premier, reported agencies.

PPP spokesman Kuthep Saikrachang told reporters Tuesday the party unanimously supported Samak to return as premier.

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday ruled that Samak must step down for violating the Constitution by hosting television cooking shows while in office, Kyodo News reported.

PPP Secretary General Surapong Suebwonglee said Wednesday the party would convene a meeting Thursday to select a candidate to replace Samak while PPP deputy leader Somchai Wongsawat denied there was a consensus within the party to vote in the House of Representatives to reinstate Samak.


After meeting with PPP representatives, Sanoh Thienthong, leader of the Pracharaj Party which has only five seats in the House of Representatives, told reporters that the PPP should nominate anyone but Samak in order to prevent escalation of political turmoil.

The lower chamber is scheduled to elect a new prime minister on Friday.

Local media widely reported that Surapong and Somchai are candidates to succeed Samak. Surapong was deputy prime minister and finance minister while Somchai was deputy prime minister and education minister in the Samak-led Cabinet.

The entire 35-member Cabinet could stay on with limited capacity as "caretakers," except Samak as defense minister. Somchai, as the No. 1 deputy prime minister, is caretaker premier. Justice Minister Sompong Amornwiwat has emerged as a third candidate since both Surapong and Somchai could face public criticism over their close links with Thaksin.

Somchai, who is said to be widely supported by most of the PPP lawmakers, is Thaksin's brother-in-law.

Surapong is one of 47 defendants in a malfeasance case set for initial hearing Sept. 26 at the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions.

As a former Cabinet member in the Thaksin administration, he is alleged together with Thaksin of wrongfully approving a project to introduce a lottery system and unlawfully granting tax exemptions for the new lottery.

Meanwhile, the anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy, which occupying the Government House compound since August 26 to demand Samak's resignation, opposed the idea of Samak’s re-election.

The PAD is unlikely to accept the election of other ministers in the ruling party as the new prime minister, either.

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