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Thai Ruling Party Meets to Choose New PM


Thailand's ruling political party is meeting in Bangkok Wednesday to discuss a possible successor to ousted Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

Mr. Samak was forced to resign Tuesday after Thailand's Constitutional Court ruled he violated the constitution by accepting payment for appearing on a television cooking show while in office.

His People's Power Party, the largest in Thailand's six-party ruling coalition, has vowed to nominate the ex-premier for the post. But the 73-year-old Samak has been in seclusion since Tuesday's court decision, and there is speculation he will reject the party's nomination.

The Thai parliament will meet Friday to elect a new prime minister.

Leaders of an anti-government group, the People's Alliance for Democracy, who seized control of Bangkok's Government House in Bangkok late last month say the group will continue its protest if Mr. Samak is re-elected.

The protesters were demanding the prime minister's resignation, accusing him of being a proxy for ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Mr. Thaksin was deposed in 2006 by a military coup. He is living in exile in Britain to avoid a slew of corruption charges against him.

Deputy Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat is serving as acting prime minister. The court ruled the cabinet must also step down, but could stay on as a caretaker government for 30 days.

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