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6/16/2008

Thailand’s ousted premier says realignment of stars in early July will ease political tension

Filed under: General,global islands,thailand — admin @ 9:48 am

Ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a firm believer in astrology, said Monday the realignment of stars in early July will help defuse political tension that has been building as anti-government protests enter a fourth week.
Thailand’s discord heightened Monday after two small bombs exploded in Bangkok, though no one was injured, and the anti-government People’s Alliance for Democracy tied up traffic for hours in the latest protest against the current government.
«Be patient with the headache-inducing situation until July 2,» Thaksin told reporters. «Mars moving close to Saturn causes the headache. When Mars leaves, the situation will ease.
Thailand is a moderning, Buddhist nation, but fortunetellers and superstition play a major role in society, even among the Western-educated elite. Political decisions in the past have been known to be influenced by fortunetellers’ advice.
Before Thaksin was toppled in a 2006 military coup, respected astrologer and Senator Boonlert Pairintra predicted Thaksin’s downfall, saying that the planet Mercury used to favor the prime minister but was later eclipsed by the God of Darkness.
Thailand’s latest political tension revolves around Thaksin, who returned from exile earlier this year to face corruption charges against him now that a new elected government has taken office.
Demonstrators have been holding sometimes-violent protests since May 25 to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and his coalition government. The protesters say Samak is a puppet of Thaksin.
Samak’s People Power Party won the most parliamentary seats in a general election last December meant to restore democracy after the coup. Samak’s new Cabinet is packed with allies and relatives of Thaksin, and critics say rehabilitating the former leader _is among the new government’s top priorities.
A court disbanded Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai party last year and banned him and more than 100 other party executives from public office until 2012.
Animosity between pro- and anti-Thaksin forces has been simmering. Overnight Monday, two men riding a motorcycle threw small explosives at a house used as an office by Sondhi Limthongkul, a media mogul who is a leader of the anti-government alliance, police Lt. Banyong Daengmankong.
The bomb did not make it past the house’s compound wall and exploded on the sidewalk nearby, Banyong said. No one was hurt and only slight damage to the sidewalk was reported.
On Monday, about 4,000 People’s Alliance for Democracy protesters marched to the headquarters of the Election Commission to call for the resignation of some commissioners whom they accused of dismissing fraud allegations against Samak’s party candidates and political allies.
Police barricaded the commission building and the protesters dispersed after a few hours.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy also held large street demonstrations in the months prior to the 2006 coup, helping undermine the stability of Thaksin’s government. Thaksin had been accused of abuse of power and corruption.
Separately, opposition Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said his party planned to lodge a no-confidence motion in parliament on Tuesday against Samak and several Cabinet members «who have caused a lot of damage and will cause more damage to the country» if they remain in power.

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