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Pattaya Daily News

14 December 2008 :: 15:12:38 pm 39657

Democrat Party Confident Leader Abhisit to be Elected As New Pm

BANGKOK, Dec 14 -- Despite intimidation and life threats on members of parliament (MPs) of the current opposition Democrat Party on the eve of electing Thailand's new prime minister on Monday, the party is confident that its leader Abhisit Vejjajiva would be elected the country's head of government, according to Sathit Wongnongtoey, the party's chief whip.
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Several threats, including telephone calls from overseas and attempts to contact with relatives of the MPs, were made, said Mr. Sathit. The party thinks it is better for the safety of its MPs to not disclose whether its members will vote for Mr. Abhisit or whether they would break ranks and vote for a candidate nominated for the post by Puea Thai Party, formed recently to accommodate MPs from the disbanded People Power Party (PPP), he said.

Mr. Sathit said his party and parties in the former coalition government command 260 votes in the House of Representatives, more than half of the total seats, although there are attempts to persuade some of these MPs to switch to support the Puea Thai Party or to back retired Pol. Gen. Pracha Promnog, leader of Puea Pandin Party, for new prime minister.

         Abhisit Vejjajiva

     Pol. Gen. Pracha Promnog

           Navin Chitchop

Until Sunday morning, the Democrat Party reaffirmed that it has obtained more than 250 votes from its party and four other parties plus a faction of the now defunct PPP in forming a new coalition government, said Mr. Sathit. (TNA)


Related News
Tens of thousands of supporters of Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Thai prime minister, have gathered for a rally in the capital Bangkok as political tensions mount across the country.
A small explosive was detonated outside the sports stadium as people arrived to hear Thaksin address the crowd by telephone. There were no reports of any casualties in the explosion, which occurred despite about 1,500 police officers being deployed to maintain security.
Another 2,500 army troops are on standby to assist if necessary, with police estimating that around 40,000 people have turned out to hear Thaksin speak.


Thaksin, who was ousted from power in a 2006 military coup and recently convicted in absentia of breaching a conflict of interest law, is expected to address the crowd on Saturday evening. Selina Downes, reporting from Bangkok for Al Jazeera, said the arena was full to capacity, with others waiting outside the stadium for Thaksin to deliver his address. The former leader’s speech comes just two days before Thailand’s parliament votes on a new prime minister.


Opposition threats

Thaksin’s political opponents have threatened renewed street action if parliament chooses a leader they find unacceptable. Somchai Wongsawat, Thaksin’s brother-in-law, was forced to step down as prime minister 10 days ago after a court found his People’s Power Party (PPP) guilty of fraud in the December 2007 election.


The court ordered that the PPP and two other parties in the coalition be disbanded, although all three have since regrouped under new names. “The military and the Democrats are launching a disguised coup, claiming to have royal backing and coercing our friends to form a Democrat-led government,” Jatuporn Prompan, one of the organisers of Saturday’s rally, said.
Thaksin is seeking to rally support for the latest incarnation of his party, now named Phuea Thai, which is comprised mostly of politicians from the disbanded PPP and its predecessor, the Thai Rak Thai party.

Party candidates

Phuea Thai wants Pracha Promnok, a former national police chief and leader of the allied Puea Pandin party, to be elected as the new prime minister.


But the opposition Democrat Party insists that it has enough support from ministers who have defected from the former ruling party to elect its candidate, Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The new leader will be Thailand’s fifth prime minister in a little more than two years.
The correspondent for Al Jazeera said: “[Thaksin] is a hugely popular figure here, especially among the rural poor. People that we have spoken to here are angry about the way in which the government was dissolved by the court.
“However, the opposition democrats seem confident they can form a government … it does appear that some MPs previously loyal to Thaksin Shinawatra may have, in fact, crossed the floor… something that we wouldn’t have expected even a few weeks ago. That will not go down well with those supporters gathered here.”


Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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