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PM visits Thaksin stronghold in Northeast - Printable Version

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PM visits Thaksin stronghold in Northeast - Coffee Break - 10-13-2006 02:03 PM

PM visits Thaksin stronghold in Northeast

BANGKOK, Oct 13 (TNA) - Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont embarked on deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's rural stronghold on Friday, assuring the rural poor that his post-coup government will continue the former government's populist policy that benefit them in a more efficient and transparent manner.


Speaking during his first visit to a popular base of the ex-premier's Thai Rak Thai Party in the northeastern provinces of Sakon Nakhon and Buri Ram, General Surayud allayed concerns that the populist policy championed by the former government proved widely popular among lower-income groups will be scrapped.

"I assure you that any policy that benefits the poor will not be changed but will be improved to be more efficient and transparent--such as the 30-baht healthcare scheme which has just been relauched as a universal healthcare programme, free of charge, as well as other social projects," Gen. Surayud said.

Voters in the populous northeast overwhelming voted for Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai Party in three successive election victories.

The premier downplayed media reports that his visit related to reports that Thaksin supporters were believed to be rallying against the new government.

Speaking during a meeting with 20 former communist insurgents in Sakon Nakhon, the prime minister said his visit was merely to carry out tasks left undone since he was military commander overseeing the area more than 20 years ago.

He vowed to listen to the people's grievances and provide assistance to them to the best of his ability.

Gen. Surayud conceded earlier that there was a link between former communist insurgents in the area and those who are now rallying against the post-coup government, but expressed confidence that there will not be any movement to cause trouble to his new government.

TNA