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Thaksin to quit as Thai PM when parliament meets

Written by: Staff
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BANGKOK, Apr 4 (Reuters) Embattled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said today he will step aside when parliament meets following last weekend's general election.

''I want to retreat by not taking the prime ministership, but I have to be caretaker prime minister until the selection process for the next Prime Minister is complete,'' he said in a nationally televised address.

He did not name a successor.

However, it is not certain when parliament will convene as Sunday's election left 38 constituencies without winners because uncontested candidates did not get the 20 per cent of the eligible vote required to take the seat.

The constitution says parliament cannot convene until all seats are filled and many of the vacant seats are in the strongholds of opposition parties that boycotted the election.

Leaders of a street campaign against Thaksin, whom they accuse of corruption and abuse of power, had said they would call off their protests as soon as Thaksin announced his resignation.

Thaksin appeared to have bowed to those demands, in large part to avoid spoiling national celebrations on June 12 and 13 to mark 60 years on the throne for revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

''Let's clean up our house and stop the chaos,'' he said less than two hours after returning by helicopter from seeing the king at his palace in the seaside town of Hua Hin.

REUTERS VJ KP1945

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