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Security tightened at Government House as debate kicks off


June 23, 2008

Thailand: Security tightened at Government House as debate kicks off
Security measures have been stepped up at and around Thailand’s Government House on Monday morning as Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej returns to work today, his first visit to his office since anti-government demonstrators began their siege Friday demanding his resignation, reported state news agency TNA.

Speaking to journalists while visiting his men at the government seat, Metropolitan Police commander Pol Lt-Gen. Assawin Kwanmuang vowed the 2,000-strong police would not allow any untoward incident or intrusion to occur at the Government House compound.

The protesting People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) earlier announced that its supporters would not enter the grounds of the government seat, and would not obstruct the prime minister from entering the compound and returning to work.

Thailand Hotel

Meanwhile, the Senate's general debate targeting the entire Samak Sundaravej administration kicked off Monday morning - on the eve of the no-confidence debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

The lone opposition Democrat Party earlier submitted two no-confidence motions to thoroughly question and examine the prime minister and seven of his cabinet ministers.

Samak, also defence minister and leader of the People Power Party (PPP) which forms the core of the six-party coalition government, said Sunday that he hoped his government agreeing to be grilled by the Senate and the opposition this week will bring to an end the political turmoil in the country.

The other seven ministers of his ruling PPP targeted by the opposition include Deputy Prime Minister/ Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee, Deputy Prime Minister/Commerce Minister Mingkwan Saengsuwan, Transport Minister Santi Prompat, Deputy Transport Minister Songsak Thongsri, Justice Minister Sompong Amornwiwat, Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama and Interior Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung.

The Democrats claimed in their censure motion that the Samak government is a weak, ineffective and corrupt stand-in for the deposed government of Thaksin Shinawatra.

The six-party government coalition controls about two-thirds of the 480 seats in the lower house of Parliament. The Democrat party has 164 seats.

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