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Page last updated at 04:20 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 05:20 UK

Thai PM re-election vote delayed

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

The Thai parliament has postponed a vote on whether to re-elect Samak Sundaravej as prime minister.

Speaker Chai Chidchob announced the delay after not enough lawmakers turned up to form a quorum.

Many members of parliament reportedly failed to attend the session because of unhappiness at the re-nomination.

Mr Samak was forced to resign over an appearance in a TV cookery show, ending weeks of deadlock amid persistent protests against his administration.

But street rallies involving thousands of protesters continue to demand his exclusion from office.

Members of both the ruling coalition and the opposition Democrat Party refused to attend the parliament session intended to endorse Samak's return as prime minister.

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 meeting to vote for prime minister was adjourned to next Wednesday.

Friday's session initially appeared to have a quorum, but a recount showed only 161 of the lower house's 470 deputies attended the session.

Mr Samak, who was stripped of office by the Constitutional Court on 9 September for accepting payment for hosting TV cooking shows, had been re-nominated by his People's Power Party (PPP) two days after he was forced to quit.

The PPP said there was nothing in the constitution to stop them from choosing him again.

His expected return to office is now delayed, and in doubt.

Thousands of protesters who have been holding a sit-in outside Government House calling for Mr Samak's resignation were enraged by his re-nomination.

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

They accuse him of being a proxy for former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, 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.

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

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





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