Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thai Prime Minister Somchai will not take orders from army chief

The PM just called the army chief's bluff. Reuters reports:
Thailand's Cabinet is to hold an emergency meeting to discuss ''measures'' against protesters in Bangkok who have broken the law, Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat said in a national television address.

Somchai also refused to heed an army call for him to step down and call a snap election, saying his government was democratically elected and would continue to work for the good of the country.
If Thai army chief Gen. Anupong wants to tell the Prime Minister what to do, it looks like Anupong will have to stage a coup.

Meanwhile, Reuters also reports that in Chang Mai -- largely pro-government territory (where the Thai PM's plane was recently diverted to land) -- "A gang of government supporters . . . shot dead an anti-government activist, police said, as a political crisis threatened to explode into civil unrest. The gang dragged the victim, a man in his 50s whose son ran a small anti-government radio station, from his car before shooting him, police lieutenant-colonel Atipol Thongdaeng said." (Reuters)

Political scientist Chris Baker, speaking on CNN, says he did not expect the Thai Prime Minister to resign or call an election. He says that "sideline" elements have been perpetrating the escalating violence:

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