05/11/2011, 00.00
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Bangkok: opposition politician shot, first violence ahead of vote

Pracha Prasopdee, 51, a Puea Thai party member and close to ex-PM Thaksin shot five times. Hospitalized, his condition is not serious. The deputy prime minister confirms "political" intent of assassination. Fears of an escalation of violence with less than two months before the general election.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - A politically motivated attack, ahead of general elections on July 3. This is how the government defines the shooting yesterday of Pracha Prasopdee, a lawmaker of the opposition Puea Thai party and close associate of former prime minister and exiled billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra. AsiaNews has highlighted the deep divisions in Thai society (see AsiaNews 10/05/11, Divided, Thais to vote on 3 July), called to the polls after five years of profound instability. Yesterday's attack could be just the first episode of a spiral of violence that may increase in coming weeks.

Pracha Prasopdee, a member of the dissolved parliament, was admitted to Bang Pakok1 after being shot in the back. The attack occurred around 9 last night in Samut Prakan on the outskirts of Bangkok. He was taking part in a campaign rally in support of a local politician ahead of local elections. Two men on a motorcycle drew along the right side of the Toyota Camry in which he was travelling and opened fire five times. Prompong Nopparit, portavoce del partito Pheu Thai, riferisce che Pracha è fuori pericolo e le sue condizioni non sembrano destare preoccupazione. Il 51enne politico thai, vicino al leader dell’opposizione ed ex Primo Ministro Thaksin Shinawatra – in esilio volontario dopo la condanna a due anni per corruzione – è stato eletto come deputato per la prima volta nel 2001, nel collegio di Samut Prakan. Egli correva per il partito Thai Rak Thai, messo al bando dopo una sentenza dei giudici.

Prompong Nopparit, Pheu Thai party spokesman, says that Pracha is out of danger and his condition does not seem to be of concern. The 51 year old Thai politician is close to the opposition leader and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra - in self-imposed exile after being sentenced to two years for corruption – and was elected as MP for the first time in 2001, for Samut Prakan district. He ran for the Thai Rak Thai party, banned after a ruling by judges.

Police sources report that the attack was the result of the climate of conflict that is widespread in Thai politics. Confirmation comes from the Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, head of national security, according to who "all this is related to political events," although it is unclear whether the events are "of national or local in nature."
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