Thailand In Political Deadlock Over New Prime Minister
Thailand was in a political deadlock today after the country’s parliament could not find a quorum to vote in a new Prime Minister.
Deposed Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, who was forced to resign for breaking conflict of interest laws by going on a television show called Cooking and Grumbling, had hoped coalition government members, who have a massive parliamentary majority, would vote him back into power.
But most of the MPs boycotted the session, in what was seen as a time-buying move, while several different parties were in negotiation over the country’s leadership. The vote has now been delayed until next Wednesday.
Meanwhile thousands of supporters of Mr Sundaravej have arrived in Bangkok from the provinces, and exiled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is reported to have conveyed by phone his choice as new Prime Minister of Thailand.
The ‘Democracy against Dictatorship’ supporters have been bussed into the capital to counter demonstrations by the People’s Alliance for Democracy supporters who have taken over Government House, and last week paralysed airports in the country’s tourist hotspots.
PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang cancelled a planned protest by Young PAD, saying: ‘We do not want violence’.
The political turmoil has caused international tourist arrivals in Bangkok to drop by 70 per cent according to Charoen Wang-ananont, President of the Thai Tourist Services Association.
Holiday bookings to Thailand were being cancelled ‘right across the board’ from Asia to Europe and already hotel occupancy was down 40 per cent for the time of the year, he said, calling for the state of emergency to be lifted.
Some 800,000 Britons travel to Thailand each year.