Thai Premier Delays Emergency Measures, Promises New Election

03:33 PM, March 29th 2007
by Playfuls Team

Thai Premier Delays Emergency Measures, Promises New ElectionThailand’s Prime Minister
Surayud Chulanont on Thursday rejected a military proposal for a state
of emergency to control growing street protests against the military
junta that appointed him, local media reported.

After meeting with the generals who seized power last September,
Surayud said that special powers such as detentions and protest bans
were not necessary because the demonstrations have so far been
peaceful.

The prime minister also said that a general election to choose a
new civilian government would be held this year on either September 16
or September 22.

Coup leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin warned the prime minister
this week that protests should not be allowed to snowball, as they did
against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in the months before
he was ousted.

A state of emergency would allow press censorship, phone tapping, arrest without trial and protest bans.

But the prime minister said it would be unnecessary as long as the
protestors remained reasonable. “Right now everything is fine. But if
there is a challenge, then there will be a response. If things starts
to descend into chaos then certainly we will act firmly.”

The September 19 was initially popular in the capital, where
Thaksin was widely regarded as a corrupt and increasingly autocratic
figure.

But the junta and its appointed government has stumbled with
financial markets and foreign investors, and failed to quell the
violence in the restive southern region of the country. It has also
been slow to prove charges of corruption against Thaksin’s regime, and
dissilusionment with the course of the coup has grown.

There have been limited protests in the Thai capital against
continued military rule in recent weeks, without incident so far.
Martial law was imposed after the coup on September 19 but was quickly
lifted in Bangkok and most other provinces.

The representatives of 12 opposition groups said on Wednesday that
tougher protests were needed to pressure the military to exit from the
political stage as soon as possible.

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