Court ruling dissolves Thai government

December 2, 2008

BANGKOK, Thailand (ChattahBox) – A constitutional court in Thailand on Tuesday has decided the top three ruling parties committed electoral fraud and temporarily banned the prime minister from politics, bringing down a government that has faced months of strident protests seeking its ouster. Government spokesman Nattawut Sai-kau said Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and his six-party ruling coalition would step down.

Somchai had become increasingly isolated in recent weeks. Neither the army, a key player in Thai politics, nor the country’s much revered king had offered him firm backing. Since Wednesday, he and his Cabinet had been working from the northern city of Chiang Mai, a government stronghold.

The Court ruling brings hope that thousands of protesters will end their weeklong siege of the country’s two main airports, but also raised fears of retaliatory violence by supporters of the government, which could sink the country deeper into crisis and further cripple its economy.

Members of the yellow-clad People’s Alliance for Democracy  (PAD), occupying Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi international airport, cheered and hugged after they heard news of the ruling. The PAD claims that the current government was a proxy for the previous Prime Minister Thaksin, who had fled the country after a military coup, to escape corruption charges. Protest leaders said a decision on whether to end the airport protests — and allow hundreds of thousands of stranded travelers to leave the country — would be made later Tuesday.

However, the government said the main Suvarnabhumi international airport in Bangkok will remain closed to passenger flights until Dec. 15, although the airport reopened to cargo flights Tuesday.


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