Samak dealt parliamentary blow

Besieged Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej suffered another severe political blow this evening when Parliament formally accepted the opposition's censure motion, practically preventing him from seeking a "graceful" way-out through a House dissolution.

The Democrats' censure motion, which was submitted to Parliament authorities earlier this week, was formally put on the House of Representatives' agenda, thus ending all doubts about validity of the motion.

The Constitution states that the House cannot be dissolved once a censure motion has been submitted. There had been debate, however, over whether the process of submitting the Democrats' motion had been completed without it being put on the House's agenda.

Now that Samak cannot dissolve the House, he has only two options as political pressure mounts _ he can try to hang on to his post with unpredictable consequences or he has to resign.

But Samak is looking increasingly isolated. And the fact that the Democrats' motion was put on the House agenda at a time when street protests were intensifying raised a big question whether his allies in the coalition government have turned against him or involved in some kind of a conspiracy against him.

House dissolution had always been Samak's trump card, his only weapon that kept both enemies and suspicious allies at arm's length. Now that he could no longer wield this weapon, his position now looked more precarious than ever.

The Nation