02/25/2006, 00.00
THAILAND
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Thai prime minister declares the dissolution of the parliament and calls election

by Weena Kowitwanij

Thaksin yesterday announced the dissolution of the government and parliament. However, protesters will take to the streets tomorrow too: his resignation is not enough, they want the former prime minister to quit politics for good. Thaksin has been accused of promoting personal interests rather than those of the state.

Bangkok (Asianews) – The Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, yesterday announced the dissolution of the government and parliament at 8.30pm local time. His decision came after two rallies were held on 4 and 11 February, attended by tens of thousands of people. The rallies were organized by the People's Alliance for Democracy. The date for the next election was set for 2 April.

However, more nationwide protests against Thaksin have been set for tomorrow: demonstrators are calling on the prime minister to not only the dissolution of the government and parliament but to quit politics for good. Thaksin stands charged with being a leader who did not respect the principles of ethics and justice. A further key problem has been that of "honesty": protesters accuse the ex prime minister of having passed laws favouring his private investments and those of his family, like the sale of the industrial group Shin Corp, which he set up before joining the political fray and which includes a telecommunications giant. The demonstrators, who include professionals from various sectors and students, say they feel capitalism is not a feature which qualifies one to be a democratic leader.

In a bid to limit protests, on 21 February, Chalermchai Mahakitsiri, a collaborator of the Speaker of the Prime Minister's Office, announced the resolution of parliament to allot 200 million Baht (US$ 5 million) to support students, as proposed by Ministry of Education. The speaker of the Prime Minister's Office had also announced the approval to increase the salary of village chiefs and community doctors.

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