Tensions remain high in Thai crisis

Airports clean up after anti-government siege, but many issues remain unresolved.

    Airport officials say they hope to resume
    service as normal by Friday [AFP]

    "It is nothing more than an intermission," Charnvit Kasetsiri, a historian and former rector of Bangkok's Thammasat University, told the Associated Press.

    "It is not over until the two sides of the political spectrum can reconcile and the prospect of that happening is very bleak."

    On Wednesday protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) began clearing out of Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports, a day after Thailand's constitutional court forced Wongsawat out of office.

    Guilty of fraud

    The ruling banned him from politics for five years and dissolved his People Power Party after finding the party and its leaders guilty of election fraud.

    Nonetheless PAD leaders have warned they will resume their protests if the new government continues to have links to Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister ousted in a 2006 coup.

    Somchai is Thaksin's brother-in-law.

    Although living in exile and recently convicted in absentia of corruption, Thaksin remains massively popular among Thailand's rural poor and the new government is almost certain to include his allies.

    With the PAD emboldened by their latest victory, that could set the stage for further confrontation.

    Corruption

    The group, which has led more than six months of street protests, has vowed to wipe out all connections to Thaksin in government, accusing the former leader of gross corruption and seeking to undermine Thailand's much-revered king.

    Despite its name, the PAD wants Thailand to abandon one-person, one-vote democracy and replace it with a mixed system in which most representatives are chosen by profession and social group.

    The PAD celebrated victory after Tuesday's court ruling against the prime minister [AFP]

    It says Thailand's majority rural population - who have given Thaksin and his associates a series of election wins - are too poorly educated to responsibly choose their representatives.

    On Thursday politicians from the three ousted parties that made up Somchai's ousted coalition were due to continue meetings to decide on a permanent candidate to replace Somchai as prime minister.

    Although disbanded and with several of their MPs banned as a result of Wednesday's court ruling, the parties have vowed to regroup under a new name.

    Despite their losses analysts say they still remain strong enough to form a government.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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