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Last Updated: Saturday, 25 February 2006, 06:12 GMT
Thai premier unveils new policies
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra
Thaksin has called the election three years early
Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has used his weekly radio speech to set out his stall a day after calling a snap general election on 2 April.

Mr Thaksin promised a higher minimum wage, more debt relief for farmers, pay rises for civil servants and part-time jobs for students.

He was forced into calling the poll amid growing criticism over his family's business dealings.

Up to 100,000 people are expected at an opposition rally in Bangkok on Sunday.

'Ask the people'

Mr Thaksin told radio listeners he welcomed the chance to make his case to voters in the election, three years ahead of schedule.

"The best way is to ask the people. One man one vote," he said. "It is the people who make the decision.

"If you don't like me, vote for others. When the people make a decision, all parties have to respect it."

Mr Thaksin won a second term last year following a landslide victory with his party obtaining 377 of the 500 seats and he is widely expected to retain power, but with a reduced majority.

He has faced calls to resign since his family sold its stake in Shin Corp, the company he built up before he entered politics, last month.

The sale, which netted the family members and others $1.9bn, has angered many urban Thais, who complained the family avoided paying tax and passed control of an important national asset to Singaporean investors.

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