Somchai outlined the one-year initial-stage policy platform and a three-year long-term plan, with the priority being "reinstall national unity," which is apparently out of the picture amid the chaos on Tuesday.
A scheduled debate following the reading was canceled.
Only 320 senators and members of parliament, out of a 621 seats in total for the two Houses, attended the session. 310 voted to agree on proceeding with the scheduled session.
Thai police fired tear gas Tuesday morning at protesters organized by People's Alliance for Democracy(PAD) who had gathered since Monday evening to stage a besiege around the Parliament in central Bangkok. Some 70 were injured. [Xinhua/Reuters Photo]
Democrat Party, the sole opposition party in the parliament, had boycotted the session as a gesture to condemn the Somchai government for using force against the protesters.
Thai Police at 6:20 a.m. (2320 GMT Monday) shot tear gas into the protesters in front of the Parliament to break the blockade and opened an access for the MPs and ministers to get into the compound for the meeting. The incident caused more than 70 injuries.
By noon, however, PAD protesters regained control of the accesses to the Parliament with more PAD supporters marching to the scene to join the demonstration at a call from PAD leaders.
Meanwhile after the policy address began, protesters and police in front of the Metropolitan Police Bureau clashed. At one point they were seen firing tear gas at each other.
The Prime Minister Somchai, as well as some MPs and ministers, has sneaked out of the Parliament compound under the besiege of PAD protesters.
PAD leaders at the central rally site inside the Government House, about 1 kilometer from the parliament, have demanded Somchai government to dissolve the House of Representatives, or Lower House, by 6:00 p.m. 1100 GMT Tuesday, or the group would take "tough measures," which they had not clearly defined.