12/09/2008, 00.00
THAILAND
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Four parties from ex-majority back opposition to form new government

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva announces he has the number of votes to form a new government. State of emergency is lifted from Bangkok’s airports.
Bangkok (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Four parties from the former ruling coalition will back the Democrat Party (DP) to form a new government, said Sanan Kachornprasart, ex-chief adviser to the Chart Tahi party, during a press conference at Bangkok’s Four Seasons Hotel.

Once allied to the dissolved ruling People’s Power Party (PPP), Chart Thai, Puea Pandin, Ruam Jai Thai Chart Pattana and Matchimathipataya are now backing DP leader Abhisit Vejjajiva for the post of prime minister. But whoever takes over, the new government will have its work cut out after months of political turmoil.

Pitoon Poomhiran, secretary-general of the lower house, said that the house speaker is likely to set a date next week for the vote for prime minister. A request for a special session of parliament has been approved by King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Over the week-end DP leaders announced that they had mustered 260 votes, 166 from their own ranks and the rest form former government supporters, enough to get a majority in the 480-member house. But because of vacancies the chamber currently has only 438 members.

Members of the former government blame the military for the situation, accusing them of not stopping the protest in the capital, of in fact carrying out a backroom coup to subvert the democratically-elected majority.

DP leader Abhisit Vejjajiva dismissed the allegation, saying that everything was done and “must be done through the parliamentary process,” adding that he was ready to govern and will do his best to bring “the country out of its crisis.”

In the meantime the caretaker government announced today that the state of emergency imposed on Bangkok’s two airports had been lifted. For two weeks the capital’s main airfields had been occupied by protesters, stranding hundreds of thousands of passengers.

Anti-government protesters from the Popular Alliance for Democracy (PAD) had taken over Suvarnabhumi International Airport on 25 November.

The next day demonstrators took over the capital’s second airfield, Don Mueang National Airport.

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