Thailand to resolve political problems democratically: Thai PM

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Bangkok, Oct 8 (UNI) Thailand is committed to resolving domestic political problems by democratic means, Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat told foreign envoys today, a day after violent anti-government street protests in the Thai capital, which left two dead and over 400 injured.

Addressing members of the foreign diplomatic corps at the Thai Foreign Ministry this morning, Mr Wongsawat said, ''Thailand is a resilient society and has been able to weather political storms in the past with great strength.'' ''We continue to abide by parliamentary democratic rule and intend to uphold the rule of law. We will resolve domestic problems through the democratic process,'' the Prime Minister said.

Thai police acted lawfully in cracking down on thousands of anti-government protesters who tried to disrupt a government policy statement in parliament yesterday, Mr Wongsawat told the foreign envoys.

The Thai government has come under heavy criticism from political opponents and sections of the media for ordering the police assault on thousands of cadres of the influential civil society People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) yesterday.

The main opposition Democrat Party boycotted the parliament session yesterday to protest against the use of force and announced today that it would initiate criminal legal action against the government.

Deputy Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh resigned yesterday, accepting responsibility for the police action.

The PAD, a platform of business people, activists and academics who advocate military and royal intervention in politics, has been on a collision course with the People Power Party (PPP)-led ruling coalition which took office after the December 2007 elections, ending 13 months of military rule.

Accusing the PPP of being a proxy of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra ousted in September 2006 by the armed forces, the PAD wants a basic change in electoral democracy that would effectively disenfranchise the country's rural majority.

PAD members have been in forcible occupation of the Prime Minster's Office since late August despite court orders to vacate and arrest warrants against key PAD leaders, forcing the Prime Minister and his Cabinet to work out of Bangkok's former international airport.


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