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Archive for Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Ousted premier quits his party

October 4, 2006

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— Thailand's deposed premier resigned from his once all-powerful party in a letter faxed Tuesday from London after more than 200 colleagues quit the organization in the wake of a military coup.

Ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra insisted his Thai Rak Thai party would survive the fallout, but other key members and analysts pronounced the exodus and Thaksin's resignation as the death knell for the party that had dominated Thai politics since 2001.

"I have to resign because of the current atmosphere and to protect the future of the party," Thaksin said in a three-page handwritten letter, his first detailed statement since a military council ousted him from power on Sept. 19, accusing him of corruption.

In the letter, Thaksin defended himself against accusations of wrongdoing and described his departure as a sacrifice for the nation.

"I have ... decided to make a sacrifice by resigning from the leadership of the Thai Rak Thai party effective starting now," said Thaksin, who founded the party in 1998. "I have to apologize to party members and people who do not want me to resign. I want to stress that it is necessary."

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