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Pressure mounts for Samak to resign
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    Pressure mounts for Samak to resign

    MOVE ON GOVERNMENT HOUSE
    Violence averted as pad leaders claim easy victory
    By The Nation

    Pressure mounts for Samak to resign

    As several tens of thousands of supporters of the People's Alliance for Democracy savour an easy victory with their success in surrounding Government House, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej is under pressure to resign.

    Political sources said Thaksin Shinawatra and the core leaders of the People Power Party have agreed that Samak should step down to pave the way for Education Minister Somchai Wongswat, a brother-in-law of Thaksin, to succeed him.

    Samak held a tense, hour-long meeting in the afternoon with Army chief General Anupong Paochinda, police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan and Lt-General Prayuth Chan-ocha, commander of the First Army Region, at the Army Sports Club on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road.

    Sources said Samak was very annoyed with the police, who failed to prevent the PAD from surrounding the heart of his administration.

    Samak and top military and police officials discussed the scope of the Emergency Decree and the Internal Security Act, but in the end Anupong and Prayuth signalled that Samak should make his own decision.

    Chamlong Srimuang, one of the core leaders of the PAD, vowed to encamp the protesters in front of Government House until Samak resigned "because he is acting as a nominee for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra".

    Police and security officials made little effort to block the protesters from surrounding the seat of government, despite warning earlier that they might use tear gas and plastic bullets.

    The PAD quickly set up a new stage in front of Government House to hold their rallies, moving from Makhawan Rangsan Bridge. The PAD has been staging street demonstrations since May 25.

    The police chief instructed his officers and security forces not to use force against the protesters. They will stop encroachment on Government House, but PAD leaders have said they will only camp around it.

    Police estimated the crowd numbers at more than 22,000 but PAD supporters said they could be as many as 100,000. The PAD held a rally against Thaksin in front of Government House in 2006, which eventually led to the military coup.

    Political sources indicate there will be a political solution to end the turmoil in the next few days, but it is not yet certain a formula satisfactory to all parties can be found.

    Thai shares yesterday rallied 3.56 per cent, the largest single-day surge in five months, as hedge funds unwound positions on hopes that there would be no violence at the anti-government protest.

    Jatuporn Prompan, an MP from the People Power Party, said he was afraid bloodshed was inevitable. "The PAD has no choice. They want to create chaos so that the military could come out to stage another coup."

    Inside the People Power Party, Thaksin is reported to have signalled to Yongyuth Tiyapairat, deputy leader Newin Chidchob, Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan and Sora-at Klinprathum that they should monitor the situation closely in case Samak decides to step down under political pressure.

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    Re: Pressure mounts for Samak to resign

    Chavalit makes call for interim govt
    By The Nation

    Former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh yesterday proposed setting up an interim national government as a way to end the current political deadlock and avoid violence.


    He said other available options such as dissolution of Parliament for a snap election or the resignation of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej would not solve the conflict.

    "To solve the problem, an interim national government must be formed. This will provide a way out for the country," he said.

    Chavalit said the proposed interim government should consist of representatives from diverse groups in the population.

    In 1997, Chavalit stepped down as prime minister following the economic and financial crisis, thus allowing the opposition Democrat Party to form a new government.

    Chavalit warned that the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) might trigger an uprising unless the government issued a clear signal about mending fences with opponents.

    If the situation deteriorated and became violent, the military would have to step in to restore normalcy, he warned.

    Democrat Party secretary-general Theptai Senpong expressed support for Chavalit's idea, saying it reflected his sincerity towards the country. However, the idea was rejected as "premature" by Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama and Kanchana Silapa-archa, deputy leader of the coalition Chart Thai Party.

    "It's not time now. We should wait and see how the protest by the People's Alliance for Democracy will turn. The government and police are confident the situation can be kept under control," Kanchana said. "After the prime minister resigns, who will replace him? General Chavalit?"

    Noppadon, an executive of the ruling People Power Party, said: "The government won the support of voters, so it has the legitimacy to be in office. The political problem is caused by groups of people who do not respect the rules. They do not accept people who have been elected by voters."

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    Re: Pressure mounts for Samak to resign

    SAMAK AT BAY
    By Daily Xpress

    PAD overcomes police and won't move 'until PM Samak and government resign'; state of emergency may be declared soon

    All eyes are on how PM Samak Sundaravej responds to the People's Alliance for Democracy's successful siege of Government House yesterday.

    Samak has not been seen since he met urgently with Army commander-in-chief General Anupong Paojinda, regional commander Lt-General Prayuth Chanorcha and national police chief Patcharawat Wongsuwan at the Army Club about 3pm.

    Samak is believed to have signed a state-of-emergency order that's yet to be declared.

    A source in the People Power Party (PPP) said Thaksin had pressured Samak to quit because he was the "problem" of the ongoing protest. PPP ministers Somchai Wongsawat and Surapong Suebwonglee were the favourite candidates to succeed Samak.

    A military source said the Army would leave Samak to decide on what he should do best in the situation.

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

    Democrats condemn

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

    Police estimate 25,000 PAD protesters are at Government House, calling for Samak and his government to resign.

    Samak refused to speak with reporters all yesterday. He was expected to address the nation about the crisis on television last night. That was cancelled.

    The PAD succeeded in surrounding the House, with little resistance from the police and its security

    Chamlong Srimuang, a PAD core leader, vows to remain outside until Samak quits. He says Samak is a "nominee" of ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

    Police and House security made little effort to stop protestors from surrounding the compound.

    They warned that tear-gas and rubber bullets could be used to disperse crowds. In they end, they did nothing.

    The PAD quickly set up a new stage from which to launch its rally. It has moved from Makkhawan Bridge, where it had been camped since May 25.

    The group is now speaking from stages at the Nang Lueng Intersection and Chamai Mayurachet Bridge.

    Leader goes missing

    Samak was away from his office most of yesterday and not present when the protesters broke past police barriers.

    The PM arrived at the Foreign Ministry at about 9am to chair a meeting of state agencies organising the next Asean summit.

    Meanwhile, the ruling People Power Party "war room" accuses the PAD of trying to incite bloodshed, with an ultimate goal of encouraging a military coup.

    Jatuporn Phromphan, the party's deputy spokesman, says alliance leaders moved the rally in a bid to force the government to employ force.

    PAD leader Chaiwat Sinsuwong says it will "stay here until we win".

    "Perhaps [Samak] will resign tomorrow," says Porntip Saksrisanong, a 50-year-old food-seller from Bangkok. "I'm not worried about a violent crackdown, because this is an elected government."

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