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Protests, unrest may continue in Thailand after Samak's renomination
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Protests and turbulence in Thailand may last for a period of time after the revoked prime minister Samak Sundaravej was renominated by his ruling party for the premiership on Thursday, analysts say.

The ruling People Power Party (PPP), led by 73-year-old Samak, held an urgent meeting and chose Samak as the party's nominee to run for prime minister during Friday's parliament voting.

Former Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej walks past journalists while leaving Parliament in Bangkok on September 11, 2008.

Former Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej walks past journalists while leaving Parliament in Bangkok on September 11, 2008.[Xinhua/Reuters Photo] 

The Constitution Court on Tuesday ruled that Samak violated the charter by hosting cooking shows on commercial TV programs after he took office in January. The ruling meant Samak's premiership was revoked, but didn't bar him from being re-elected.

A PPP spokesman said Thursday that the mistake of Samak on cooking programs did not damage the country's interest. So it was only a tiny mistake and would not conflict with Samak's qualification for entering the contest again, he added.

"I thank the party for nominating me," Samak told reporters. "Iam accepting the nomination in order to protect democracy in the country."

Political unrest and protests may continue for some time in Thailand, though Samak probably will get a majority of votes in the 480-seat parliament, where the PPP owns 223 seats and its five coalition parties control 83, observers say.

Some of the PPP's coalition partners said they recognize PPP's right to nominate Samak, but didn't necessarily agree with the choice.

Somsak Prisana-anantakul of Chart Thai Party, the second-largest group in the coalition, told reporters "We honor the core party's nomination, but we think the new prime minister should be someone who can help resolve the political crisis."

To make matters worse, protestors from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), who have occupied Government House since August 26, have vehemently opposed Samak's return to office.

"The main principle is that Samak, who violated the constitution many times, should not become PM again," Somsak Kosaisook, a PAD leader, told reporters at Government House.

"No one in the PPP should become prime minister or a minister in the government," he added.

Somsak also suggested the PAD protest, which has paralyzed the government and raised economic slowdown fears, would continue until its demands were met.

Analysts say the PPP's renomination of Samak and PAD's stiff opposition to the man will cause a deeper rift in Thai society. It takes time for Thailand to end the current political stalemate and regain stability across the country, they say.

(Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2008)

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