No retreat
Bangkok Post reporters

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej insists on staying in government as long as he can, saying he will neither dissolve the House nor resign.

In his weekly address on nationwide TV and radio yesterday, Mr Samak said he would do everything to maintain his six-party coalition and did not care about manoeuvring by "a handful of people" who enjoyed the support of a mass media outlet.

He was referring to the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which is calling for an end to his government.

"For the nation, the People Power party (PPP) will see the government remains legally in place with five other political parties so the administration can continue. If this can go on until the end, I will stay until the end," he said.

"If something causes me to tumble, let it be. I will be wrong if I am pronounced in the wrong. I will resign if I am pronounced to have resigned," he said.

He would do everything he could to restore peace and unity in the nation, and the Thai people should support him in this.

Mr Samak denied reports that a branch of the PPP had been renamed Puea Thai, but admitted his party had internal issues he would have to handle.

However, PPP spokesman Kuthep Saikrachang admitted the branch, in Phichit province, had replaced its PPP sign with a Puea Thai party sign.

He said the process to disband the PPP and its coalition partners - the Chart Thai and Matchimathipataya parties - was ongoing and the introduction of the Puea Thai party reflected attempts by PPP MPs to find a way out in advance.

No one in the party expected the PPP to survive, he said.

"Disband the party if you want to. We will move to another party. Supplying the new party has begun," said the PPP spokesman.

He said Puea Thai should attract former Thai Rak Thai members who had moved to other parties after the dissolution of their old party.

Many former Thai Rak Thai members realised their departure to other parties had only brought about political problems and that many people still support Mr Thaksin's policies, he said.

He added that the new party would promote popular policies.

Mr Samak is expected to be grilled by some PPP members tomorrow. They have questioned why Mr Samak, who directly oversees police affairs, let police humiliate Mr Thaksin by publicly displaying the arrest warrants for him and his wife Khunying Potjaman.

Narong Phetprasert, an analyst at Chulalongkorn University, told a forum organised by the Thai Journalists Association the former prime minister would continue to fight and would push for constitutional amendments to free himself from prosecution.

Siripan Noksa-nguan, a political scientist from Chulalongkorn University, said Mr Thaksin's departure should please Mr Samak because he would not have to take orders from the ousted former leader. Mr Thaksin is widely believed to influence the PPP.