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Thaksin’s political future remains uncertain

BANGKOK, May 9 (TNA) – Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will possibly contest in the next general election, Prime Minister’s Secretary-General Prommin Lertsuridej said Tuesday.

The Constitutional Court ruled on Monday that the April 2 general election was unconstitutional and called for a new balloting.

Dr Prommin however said final decisions on Mr Thaksin's political future would not be made unless the Constitutional Court's full verdict is announced.

The secretary-general said he personally believed Mr Thaksin would continue to lead the Thai Rak Thai Party in the upcoming election campaign despite his earlier announcement to ‘’take a political break.’’

Caretaker Deputy Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said Mr Thaksin only pledged not to take the premiership in the near future but did not close the door to contest in the next general election.

Mr Anutin said people started missing Mr Thaksin in the wake of increasing oil prices, stronger baht and other economic hardships.

The April 2 general election organised by the Election Commission was on Monday announced unconstitutional on grounds that polling booths were wrongfully arranged and the 37-day pre-election period was unfair to other political parties.

(TNA) May 09 2006
PM Thaksin indicates he'll stay politically active

BANGKOK, May 11 (TNA) - Thai Rak Thai Party leader and caretake Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said Wednesday that he will remain an active player in politics, but he will leave it to his party to decide whether he would run in the upcoming general election or not.

Speaking to reporters at his party headquarters, the on-leave prime minister said he has no new information concerning preparation for the polls, beyond the fact that the Election Commission is readying to consult various political parties.

Mr. Thaksin visited the newly refurbished press room at TRT headquarters where a new picture of him during electioneering in the north has just been put on prominent display. The picture carries a
slogan that reads "Smile at all forms of political obstacles to serve the country and the people."

The TRT leader said he created that slogan, and that reporters should be able to read into it the message that he will continue to press on in politics.

He revealed that he has written a song entitled "From the Bottom of My Heart," which he promises to sing in a public debut during the upcoming election campaign.

Asked if he would stand for office in the election, Mr Thaksin said "I will definitely be on stage to speak but I don't know if the Party would field me as a candidate. We have not discussed that yet."

Meanwhile, TRT deputy secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said Mr. Thaksin instructed the party to gather 'full steam' for the new election.

Speaking to reporters after the party meeting, Mr. Phumtham said TRT is ready to participate in the election and that his caretaker government will co-ordinate with the Election Commission to issue a decree for a nationwide poll on an appropriate date.

Mr. Phumtham said Mr Thaksin instructed all party members to prepare to work hard for the forthcoming polls and that he has no problems for those who wish to defect from the party.

The party also plans to conduct a popularity survey regarding existing and potential candidates, the outcome of which will be included in deciding the party's list of candidates--which won't be finalised until the election date is announced.

TNA
11/06/2006
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