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Page last updated at 09:29 GMT, Thursday, 11 September 2008 10:29 UK

Samak accepts Thai PM nomination

Ousted Thai PM Samak Sundaravej leaves Parliament House in Bangkok on 11September 2008
Parliament will vote on Mr Samak's nomination on Friday

Thailand's Samak Sundaravej has accepted his party's nomination as prime minister - two days after he was forced to quit the post.

The People's Power Party said there was nothing in the constitution to stop them from choosing him again.

The move is likely to be opposed by the PPP's coalition partners, as well as thousands of protesters who have sought Mr Samak's resignation.

Mr Samak was forced out after he was found to have flouted the constitution.

He was deemed by a court on Tuesday to have broken constitutional rules by accepting payments for his appearances on a TV cookery show.

Enraged protesters

"I thank the party for nominating me," Mr Samak, 73, told reporters.

"I am accepting the nomination in order to protect democracy in the country."

POLITICAL CRISIS
26 Aug: Protesters occupy government buildings, demand the government step down
28 Aug: PM Samak promises no use of force against the protesters
30 Aug: Samak rules out resignation, after meeting with Thailand's king
1 Sept: A late-night clash between pro- and anti-government groups leaves one dead. Samak declares a state of emergency
4 Sept: Samak proposes a national referendum
9 Sept: Court orders Samak to resign for violating constitution
11 Sept: PPP re-nominates Samak as prime minister

The decision to re-nominate him came after a two-hour meeting of the PPP.

Spokesman Kuthep Saikrajang was quoted by the Bangkok Post website as saying Mr Samak had not done anything to damage the country.

His appearances on the show were as a result of misinterpreting the law, rather than from corruption or ill-intent, Mr Kuthep added.

Despite PPP support, Mr Samak will have to overcome some formidable obstacles to become prime minister again, the BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok says.

Thousands of protesters who have been holding a sit-in outside Government House calling for Mr Samak's resignation are expected to be enraged by the latest move.

They accuse him of being a proxy for Mr Thaksin, who was ousted in an army coup in 2006 amid accusations of corruption and abuse of power.

They have said they will continue their protest until a suitable replacement for Mr Samak is found.

Provocative decision

Mr Samak also faces opposition within parliament, which is due to elect the new prime minister on Friday.

Video still of Samak Sundaravej
Mr Samak's TV appearances were deemed unconstitutional

Although the PPP is the largest party in parliament, it does not have an outright majority and four of its five coalition partners have already said they want an alternative candidate.

It was not clear on Thursday whether they would join the opposition Democrats in a vote to reject the nomination.

On top of that, Mr Samak also faces disqualification again later this month if the verdict in a defamation case goes against him.

It raises the question, why does the PPP insist on re-nominating him, our correspondent says.

One theory is that they simply could not agree on another candidate. Another possibility is that the plausible alternatives lack the bravado Mr Samak has shown in taking on his opponents.

This will be seen as a provocative decision that does nothing to ease the political crisis in the country, our correspondent adds.





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