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Samak Pressed to Call New Elections

Updated On: Jun 22, 2008

Some 8,000-10,000 protesters in Bangkok laid seige to Government House on Friday demanding that PM Samak resign. The rally was organized by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) who insist that Samak is a surrogate of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

After some police blockades, the protesters, wearing royal symbols, succeeded in encamping right in front of the Government house, although they did not appear to enter the gates. Some 5000 police were present with water cannons but did not appear to use them. Only minor skirmishes and injuries were reported.

Army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda has advised Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to think seriously about dissolving the House to end the turmoil on the streets of the capital.

Clearing the decks would allow the people to "make a new decision" at a fresh general election. In the meantime, Anupong envisages that Mr Samak would head a caretaker government.

A major military reshuffle is due in August. Some sources believe the military do not wish to see a change in prime minister as this could increase Mr influence from former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in the military shake-up.

Sources:

Bangkok Post, 21 Jun 2008, Dissolve Parliament

Bangkok Post, 21 Jun 2008, On to Government House