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Thaksin 'to take a break after election' - Coffee Break - 07-22-2006 02:43 PM

Thaksin 'to take a break after election'


Caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra will take a break from politics and not accept the prime ministership after the Oct 15 election, said a highly-placed source in the Thai Rak Thai party yesterday. The source's remarks came as government spokesman Surapong Suebwonglee said Mr Thaksin would stand as Thai Rak Thai's number-one party-list candidate in the poll.

The source insisted that the party leader would take a break from politics after the election.

''However, the issue could not be officially announced as the party feared it could jeopardise the party's election campaign and Thai Rak Thai supporters' confidence,'' he said.

The comments came after the government announced that a royal decree had set the election for Oct 15.

A cabinet minister said an opinion poll would be conducted to check the popularity rating of all Thai Rak Thai deputy party leaders to see who among them is the most suitable choice for the party leadership during Mr Thaksin's absence from politics.

Previous polls had shown that Somkid Jatusripitak and Sudarat Keyuraphan were the most popular with the party's supporters in Bangkok.

A source said the party leader was not worried about his replacement as he believed there were several people good enough to step into his shoes. However, Mr Thaksin's preferred choice may not be acceptable to most party members and the public.

Mr Thaksin has reportedly backed Pongthep Thepkanchana as his successor, but several leading figures in the party have opposed the move. Some issued an ultimatum, threatening to leave the party if Mr Pongthep became prime minister after the election.

The People's Alliance for Democracy has asked Mr Thaksin to keep his word, made on April 4 at the height of the protests against him.

Mr Thaksin said then that he would not assume the premiership until political reform has been completed.

Bangkok Post