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Thai PM Thaksin on 7-nation Europe, Asia tour

Written by: Staff
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BANGKOK, Apr 23 (Reuters) Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is to make a one-week private trip to seven European and Asian countries to brief his hosts on a constitutional crisis in the country.

Thaksin, who announced a decision not to seek another term after an April two snap election, planned to make short stops in Britain, France, Russia, Japan, China and the Philippines on April 24-30.

''I will meet their leaders. They should be keen to know about developments here...They should want to know the facts because reading newspapers must have been confusing,'' Thaksin told reporters.

He did not say which government leaders he would meet during the trip.

After his move to step down, Thaksin handed over day-to-day administrative work to Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Chidchai Vanasatidya.

Months of street protests by middle-class Thais, who accused Thaksin of corruption and abuse of power, had forced the former telecom tycoon to hold the inconclusive election early this month in a bid to defuse political tension.

Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai (Thais Love Thais) Party won fewer than expected votes in the poll boycotted by all major opposition parties.

Marred by widespread abstentions, the election result has produced a constitutional crisis. About 10 per cent of seats in the lower House of Representatives could not be filled by Thai Rak Thai candidates who failed to get sufficient votes.

REUTERS SRS PM1613

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