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Thailand's Acting Prime Minister Lifts State of Emergency

Thailand's acting prime minister has lifted a state of emergency in the capital, Bangkok, 12 days after it was put into place following violent clashes between pro- and anti-government forces.

Somchai Wongsawat told a news conference Sunday that while political tensions remain, there is no reason to continue the state of emergency. Emergency rule began on September second after clashes left one dead and dozens injured.

Anti-government demonstrators with the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have taken over the main government complex in Bangkok and refuse to leave until ousted Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and all of his allies are out of power.

Kraisak Choonhavan, a parliament member from the opposition Democrat Party, says protesters will wait to see who the PPP selects as its next candidate.

"Things are in a bit of confusion for the time being, and it all boils down to the fact that the conflict is within the PPP - that is the result of a failed session this morning at the parliament," Kraisak said.

Sompop Manarangsan, an economist at Chulalongkorn University, says many Thais want a candidate who is less confrontational than Mr. Samak.

The business community and other community leaders are also urging the PPP to select someone other than Mr. Samak. The Thai economy, especially tourism, has been hit by the political tension.

Mr. Samak was forced to step down last week after a Constitutional Court ordered him to resign.

A parliamentary session to re-elect Mr. Samak Friday lasted less than half an hour. House Speaker Chai Chidchob abruptly adjourned the meeting, saying there were not enough members present for a vote.

Five coalition parties withdrew their support for Mr. Samak, and at least 70 members of his People Power Party also defected.

Thailand's parliament will meet on Wednesday to choose his successor.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.