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Pattaya Daily News

03 December 2008 :: 10:12:16 am 39741

Thai Airports to Reopen on Friday

BANGKOK - 2 November, Anti-government demonstrators in Thailand declared victory and said they would end their occupation of the country's two main airports Wednesday after a court decision forced the country's prime minister from office.
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While an estimated 300,000 travelers stranded by last week’s airport takeovers breathed a bit easier, the question of who will hold power in a democratic Thailand remained unanswered following Tuesday’s verdict.

The PAD  who seek to eliminate the one-person, one-vote system ? left open the possibility of more unrest saying they will return to the streets if political change does not occur. At least six people have been killed and scores injured in clashes in recent months. Also unclear was the extent of damage the weeklong airport blockade inflicted on the country’s economy, which relies heavily on tourism.

Still, the protest alliance, which crippled the country’s administration by occupying the offices of the prime minister three months ago and saw the courts sack two prime ministers it campaigned against, vowed to resume its militant actions if future developments displeased them.

On Tuesday, the country’s Constitutional Court found Somchai’s People’s Power Party, the Machima Thipatai party and the Chart Thai party guilty of committing fraud in the December 2007 elections that brought the coalition to power.

“Dishonest political parties undermine Thailand’s democratic system,” said Constitutional Court President Chat Chalavorn.

The ruling sent Somchai and 59 executives of the three parties into political exile, barring them from politics for five years. Of the 59, 24 are lawmakers who will have to abandon their parliamentary seats.

“It is not a problem. I was not working for myself. Now I will be a full-time citizen,” Somchai told reporters following the ruling.

Government spokesman Suparak Nakboonnam said Deputy Prime Minister Chaowarat Chandeerakul will become the caretaker prime minister. She said Parliament will have to pick a new prime minister within 30 days.

But lawmakers of the three dissolved parties who escaped the ban can join other parties, try to cobble together a new coalition and then choose a new prime minister. If their fragile unity fails, new elections are the likeliest outcome  with the chance that Thaksin’s allies would again triumph, setting off a whole new cycle of protests.

Travelers were the clearest immediate beneficiaries of Tuesday’s developments. Thai authorities have been running flights in and out of a naval air base at U-Tapao while Vudhibhandhu Vichairatana, the chairman of the Airports of Thailand, said Suvarnabhumi international airport will resume operations Friday. He called the plan a birthday gift for King Bhumibol, who turns 81 on Dec. 5. The airport reopened to cargo flights on Tuesday.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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