Friday, September 12, 2008

Thailand's ousted prime minister gives up bid to regain job

Last Updated: Friday, September 12, 2008 | 7:50 PM ET 

Thailand's ousted prime minister abandoned his bid to regain his job on Friday, but the surprise move failed to appease protesters who responded with a call to purge the entire cabinet.

Former prime minister Samak Sundaravej also said he would give up leadership of the ruling party, according to his aide Teerapon Noprampa.

Samak was forced out of his job as prime minister on Tuesday after a Constitutional Court ruling found he had violated a conflict-of-interest law by accepting pay for hosting two television cooking shows while in office.

The announcements came after Samak's People's Power Party announced they would not endorse him at next week's House vote because of opposition from the other five parties in the ruling coalition.

About 70 lawmakers from Samak's own party also opposed him.

Criticism of Samak's leadership turned into a national crisis on Aug. 26, when anti-government protesters occupied the grounds of the prime minister's office compound in Bangkok.

The protesters refused to leave until Samak resigned, and they have vowed to stay on the Government House grounds until Samak's entire cabinet resigns.

The House of Representatives was supposed to pick a new prime minister on Friday, but failed to do so after not enough members showed up to hold a valid vote. The vote was rescheduled for Wednesday.

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