Don't even think I am going to quit: Thai PM

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{image-Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej_04092008.jpg}Bangkok, Sep 4: Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Thursday, Sep 4 declared in a radio address to the nation that he would not resign to end a worsening standoff with anti-government protesters who have seized his office.

''Don't even think I am going to quit. The country needs a leader, and the world is watching us,'' the Prime Minister told the country amid widespread speculation that he would use the broadcast to announce his resignation or dissolution of Parliament. Mr Sundaravej confirmed media reports that Foreign Minister Tej Bunnag had submitted his resignation citing personal reasons. ''I cannot leave because under a democratic system no one group can force me to resign,'' said the septuagenarian leader known for his combative political style.

''How can I quit when the entire world is watching us? It would embarrass the nation to do such a thing,'' he added. Thousands of members of the civil society campaign People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) are camping in the Prime Minister's Office for the past eight days despite the declaration of a state of emergency in the capital.

The army, which is in charge of enforcing the state of emergency, banning assembly of more than five people, has been reluctant to act against the PAD protesters amid growing speculation that the powerful army chief wanted the Prime Minister to quit.


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