Friday, October 17, 2008

Thai Leader Refuses to Quit

I wonder if he'll be insisting he's not quitting after the next Coup? Maybe Thaskin will get him a job helping with his soccer team.

Defiant Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat appealed to the nation via TV on Friday, laying out a two-month work programme as justification to reject a military "recommendation" to resign.
His statement came a day after army chief Gen Anupong Paojinda took the entire top military establishment on a TV programme to back his suggestion that Mr Somchai should resign to take responsibility for the Oct 7 clashes between police and People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) demonstrators.
"The government cannot just abandon its work and responsibility," Mr Somchai on Friday.
He had his own supporters seated alongside for the 20-minute press statement: the leaders of the six coalition parties that give the government its parliamentary majority. But there were clear signs of discontent among some coalition members, who did not voice outright support for Mr Somchai as they had in the past.
The premier said the government cannot quit now because there are three national events coming up: The funeral of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana next month, and the December celebration of His Majesty the King's birthday anniversary, and the Asean summit, to be held this year in Thailand.
The premier, however, said that the government is willing to accept results of two fact-finding panels, set up earlier this week investigate the clashes, which left two people killed and more than 400 injured.
It is currently expected the panels will work fast and report within 15 days.
Mr Somchai also told the nationwide TV audience that he had called the now-controversial special cabinet meeting on the night of Oct 6, as PAD protesters began to surround the Parliament to prevent the government from delivering its policy statement. Mr Somchai reiterated that the government debated and decided that night it would not use force to disperse the protesters.
He insisted that the government and coalition parties will continue to work together despite heavy criticism, adding that the government listens to all opinions and takes them into consideration.
"The government is elected from the people, and we listen to opinions from all sides," he said. "But we will make decisions based on the benefits of the country and the people."

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