Five month honeymoon

Bangkok-based activisit groups said on Sunday they are giving the new government five months to prove itself before they resume street protests - less if it messes up early on.

Suriyasai Katasila, secretary general of the Democracy Campaign Committee and acting as a spokesman for other groups, promised there would be no protests against the government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej for now.

The DCC and other groups want to give the new administration time to work. But they will set up a full-time working group to monitor the government's performance, said Mr Suriyasai.

The activist groups organised and led a year of street demonstrations, often drawing hundreds of thousands of protesters - action that led directly to the Sept 19, 2006, bloodless military coup which toppled the Thaksin Shinawatra government.

Mr Suriyasai said pointedly the same grups are ready to support government policies which benefit the majority of the people, and “not just one person” - a pointed reference at Mr Thaksin, believed to be influential in forming the current administration.

He touched on two controversial issues dominating Thai politics at the moment:

On the planned return to Thailand of Mr Thaksin, who faces corruption charges, Mr Suriyasai said it was acceptable if the self-exiled ex-permier returned home in mid-February as some speculate. But both he and his wife must face graft charges, without government interference.

On a statement by PM's Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair that intended to closely monitor state-owned media, the anti-Thaksin activist said this reeked of possible media suppression, especially by TV and radio broadcasters.

He called on journalists and media associations to cooperate and resist "Mr Jakrapob's scheme

Bangkok Post