9/24/2008

Thailand elects a new prime minister

Thailand's parliament elects a new prime minister

Thailand's legislature elected a new prime minister, Somchai Wongsawat of the People Power Party (PPP), on September 17th. Somchai overcame divisions within the PPP and between the ruling party and its coalition partners to win the parliamentary vote by an overwhelming margin. Yet he will almost certainly be unable to end Thailand's political crisis.

Somchai accepted his new post with a speech calling for national reconciliation, but his being prime minister has already been rejected by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), an anti-government movement that has occupied the grounds of government buildings in central Bangkok. To be sure, the soft-spoken former judge is a less divisive personality than his famously combative predecessor, Samak Sundaravej, who was forced to resign last week because he made paid appearances on a television cooking show during his first two months in office. But Somchai has a fatal flaw—he is the brother-in-law of the PAD's enemy-in-chief, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. This makes him especially unacceptable to the PAD, which in any case believes that any PPP leader would be a proxy for Thaksin. ...



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[Source: The Economist: News analysis

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