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Court orders Samak to go, party will renominate him

Article published on the 2008-09-09 Latest update 2008-09-10 08:33 TU

Anti-government demonstrators celebrate the court ruling (Photo: Reuters)

Anti-government demonstrators celebrate the court ruling
(Photo: Reuters)

Thailand's Constitutional Court on Tuesday ordered Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to stand down, for taking payments for hosting two TV cookery shows. Samak's People Power Party (PPP) says that it will nominate him to succeed himself, if he obeys the court's ruling.

The court ordered Samak to leave office immediately, having found that he violated the constitution by receiving payment for his TV shows "Tasting and grumbling" and "All set at 6 am".

The court said that his cabinet must go as well, but that it can remain as a caretaker administration for 30 days until parliament elects a new premier.

Samak's defence claimed that, once he became prime minister, he only accepted money to buy ingredients and pay for petrol but the court rejected the argument.

"PPP will propose Samak as Prime Minister on the grounds that he's the party leader, and the wrongdoing was petty and not triggered by mismanagement," government whip Witthaya Buranasiri told the AFP news agency, adding that voting vould take place before the end of the week.

Anti-government demonstrators welcomed the court ruling but vowed to continue their occupation of government buildings until Samak and his party are swept from office definitively.

In other news, a court has ordered 400 websites to be closed, according to the Bangkok-based South-East Asia Press Alliance.

The campaigning group says that 344 were told to shut down because they were judged offensive to King Bhumibol Adulyadej or his family, which is an offence under Thai law.