Thaksin allies unveil members of coalition government

 International Herald Tribune

The Associated Press

Published: December 31, 2007

BANGKOK: Allies of Thaksin Shinawatra, the deposed prime minister, on Monday unveiled the coalition government they said they had formed and said the alliance had enough seats for a majority in Parliament.

“We would like to announce the formation of the coalition government of 254 seats,” Samak Sundaravej, the leader of the People Power Party and the leading candidate to become the next Thai prime minister, said at a news conference.

Also at the news conference were representatives of three minor parties joining the coalition. The Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana, with nine seats in the new Parliament, Matchima Thipataya, with seven, and Pracharaj, with five, would give the PPP-led coalition a total of either 251 or 254 seats, depending on whether the decision Sunday by the Election Commission to disqualify three PPP winners is upheld.

Other PPP victors could still face disqualification as the commission continues its investigation into widespread election violations, especially vote buying. But the PPP says the coalition now has enough seats even if others are disqualified.

It also appeared that the Chart Thai Party, which won 37 seats, might join the PPP-led grouping. The Chart Thai leader, Banharn Silpa-archa, said he “foresees no problem” in joining the coalition but would only make his party’s position official Wednesday.

The pro-Thaksin People Power Party came out on top in the Dec. 23 elections, Thailand’s first since Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in September 2006, winning 233 seats in Parliament’s 480-seat lower house. The anti-Thaksin Democrat Party won only 165 seats. Both parties have since been battling to form a coalition.

The election pitted Samak, a veteran rightist politician, against Abhisit Vejjajiva, the 43-year-old, British-educated leader of the Democrat Party. The key figure in the contest, though, was Thaksin, who has been living in exile since his ouster by the military, which accused him of massive corruption and abuse of power. Thaksin remains highly popular with the rural masses, and the PPP campaign focused heavily on bringing him back to Thailand.

Insurgents suspected in blast

Attackers suspected of being Muslim insurgents set off five bombs early Monday in a Thai-Malaysian border tourist town, wounding 27 people, many of them New Year’s revelers, The Associated Press reported from Bangkok, quoting an army spokesman.

The bombs exploded in the hotel and nightlife area of Sungai Kolok in Narathiwat Province.

Two of the bombs went off inside a hotel discotheque and one outside another hotel, said the spokesman, Colonel Akara Thiprote.

“Sungai Kolok is a tourist town, and people were here to celebrate the New Year. I think this is why they targeted the town,” Akara said.

Sungai Kolok attracts many tourists from neighboring Malaysia and has been attacked several times in recent years.

Thai Party Says It Can Form Coalition

AP

Posted: 2007-12-31 04:09:16

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) – The political party allied with deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced Monday it had enough seats to form a coalition government after Thailand’s first post-military coup election.
Samak Sundaravej – the leading candidate to become Thailand’s next leader – said his pro-Thaksin People’s Power Party had formed a government after wooing three small political parties.

“We would like to announce the formation of the coalition government of 254 seats,” he told a news conference also attended by representatives of the three minor parties.

Samak’s PPP came out on top in the country’s first election since Thaksin was ousted by a military coup in September 2006, winning 233 seats in parliament’s 480-seat lower house. The anti-Thaksin Democrat Party won only 165 seats.

Both parties have been battling to form a coalition since the Dec. 23rd elections.
The Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana with nine seats, Matchima Thipataya with seven, and Pracharaj with five would give the PPP-led coalition a total of 251 – or 254 – seats.
Three PPP winners were disqualified by the Election Commission Sunday but this has not been legally endorsed, so officially the PPP still retains 254 seats.

Other PPP victors could also still face disqualification as the commission continues its probes into widespread election violations, especially vote buying. But the PPP says the coalition now has enough seats even if others were disqualified.
It also appeared the Chart Thai Party, which won 37 seats, might join the PPP-led grouping.

Chart Thai Party head, Banharn Silpa-archa, said he “foresees no problem” in joining the coalition but would only make his party’s position official on Jan. 2.
PPP spokesman Kuthep Saikrajang said if the coalition is successfully formed, Samak would definitely emerge as the prime minister.

The election pitted Samak, a veteran rightist politician, against Abhisit Vejjajiva, the 43-year-old, British-educated leader of the Democrat Party, the country’s oldest.
But probably the key figure in the contest was Thaksin, who has been living in exile since his ouster by the military, which accused him of massive corruption and abuse of power.

Thaksin remains highly popular with the rural masses and the PPP campaign focused heavily on bringing him back to Thailand. Thaksin, who faces a number of corruption charges, said recently he is considering his options about a homecoming.

 

Reuters

Pro-Thaksin group to form coalition with 3 small parties

 

AFP

Thailand’s pro-Thaksin party says they can form govt

 

Thaksin allies ‘to form coalition’

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