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Pattaya Daily News

04 October 2006 :: 09:10:08 am 29969

Thailand ex-Prime Minister, Thaksin quit from Thai Rak Thai party

BANGKOK - Thailand‘s ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatrahas resigned as leader of his Thai Rak Thai (TRT) party on Tuesday. Comment from one political analyst that "It‘s game over."
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            Thaksin wrote a letter to the members of Thai Rak Thai party from London , where he has been taking resident since the September 19 coup. 

            The Telecom tycoon said that his resignation was to “maintain the future of all those who loves the party.” He wrote “I would like to thank everyone for their dedication to the party and their love and care for my family and I, and finally, I would like to say sorry to the people and party members who did not want me to resign.” 

            His departure resulted in the automatic dissolution of the 119-strong executive of Thai Rak Thai, although it does not mean its end as a political entity. 

            However, with members quitting in droves ahead of army-led anti-corruption probes into Thaksin and his cabinet, there appears to be no way back for a party whose popularity was based largely on its leader‘s star appeal and enormous wealth. 

            Thaksin created Thai Rak Thai (TRT), or “Thais Love Thais”, in 1998 and turned it into a political machine that won great popularity, especially in mainly rural northern Thailand. 

            He built the party with his personal fortune and charisma, finding an unlikely following among the rural poor, especially in northern Thailand where he was born. 

            His party was the first to lavish attention and resources on poor Thai farmers, whose incomes rose dramatically during his five years in office. So popular was the TRT party that in the elections in 2005, TRT held 375 of the 500 seats in parliament. But there were lots of queries as to whether the party could survive without Thaksin‘s leadership. 

            Most outstanding changes in the party was the leaving of Thaksin‘s former deputy premier Surakiart Sathirathai, who had been a candidate to become UN secretary general, and his former commerce minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who had been tipped as a possible successor. Surakiart Sathirathai, former deputy prime minister of Thailand, has led a wave of more than 60 resignations of former ministers and lawmakers.

            The military has also launched a slate of corruption investigations against Thaksin‘s cabinet, the party still faces charges of vote fraud in the last general elections. A conviction could see the party dissolved and bar its leaders from politics for five years. The anti-corruption panel said Tuesday it was focusing on eight allegations, including three connected to Bangkok‘s just-opened Suvarnabhumi international airport. But the most sensitive of the investigations centers on Thaksin‘s family‘s sale of telecom stock in January, which earned them 1.9 billion dollars without paying tax. 

            The military-backed panel is looking into whether Thaksin‘s family illegally avoided paying tax when they sold their nearly 49-percent stake in Shin Corp, the telecom giant he founded, to Singapore‘s state-linked Temasek Holdings. Separately, the commerce ministry said Tuesday that it has asked police to investigate as to whether the sale violated laws regulating foreign ownership of telecoms. 

            The report on FM102.5 MHz said that Thaksin Shinawatra would make announcement on his resignation as member of the Thai Rak Thai Party at noon today from London. He has resigned as Thai Rak Thai leader on Tuesday. Sources said that he hoped that his resignation would allow the Thai Rak Thai party to continue to carry out the activities.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Politics News

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