Thai Parliament postpones vote on next premier

September 12th, 2008 - 6:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangkok, Sep 12 (DPA) Thailand’s parliament Friday postponed a vote on a new prime minister after a court sacked premier Samak Sundaravej this week for moonlighting as a television cooking show host.Samak had been renominated for the job he lost Tuesday, but the failure by many of his own People Power Party (PPP) members to show up for Friday’s vote demonstrated the strong opposition to his reinstatement.

House Speaker Chai Chitchob decided to postpone the special session after failing to meet a quorum of at least half the 480 members of the House of Representatives. The meeting has been rescheduled for Wednesday.

Samak was the leading candidate to become prime minister even though he just lost the job when the Constitution Court found him guilty of violating Thailand’s charter by excepting outside employment during his premiership.

Although the court’s guilty verdict forced Samak to resign his post, it did not strip him of his member of Parliament status, paving the way for his possible re-election by his PPP, which holds 223 of the 480 seats in the lower chamber.

The PPP named Samak as its nominee Thursday, but the nomination was far from unanimous.

Somchai Petprasert, a PPP member of Parliament, had said about 70 PPP lawmakers would abstain from voting for Samak Friday because they felt he would not be able to solve Thailand’s political crisis.

It was unclear whether the PPP majority would continue to push Samak’s nomination next week.

“The PPP still supports Samak, but if there is no way out, we may have to dissolve Parliament and let the people decide again,” said Jatuporn Promphan, a deputy government spokesman.

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