Somchai Wongsawat

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Thai Opposition Leader Takes Office as PM

Abhisit confirmed, but special elections may threaten his majority

(Newser) - Abhisit Vejjajiva, the opposition leader of Thailand who lost an election only a year ago, has been confirmed as the country's new prime minister, reports the BBC. The British-born 44-year-old takes power after days of horse-trading among Thailand's political parties, with supporters of the exiled Thaksin Shinawatra allegedly offered cabinet... More »

Huge Rate Cut Aims to Restart Thai Economy

Central bank surprises analysts as country forms new government

(Newser) - The Bank of Thailand today cut interest rates by 100 basis points, more than any observers expected, as the besieged nation tries to restart its economy. As Bloomberg reports, the 6-month protest that ended with the ouster of PM Somchai Wongsawat sapped exports and aggravated the pain of the global... More »

Flights Resume as Thai Protesters Take Off

300,000 stranded travelers scramble to grab seats

(Newser) - Flights have resumed at Bangkok's international airport as a mob of Thai protesters began exiting after a week-long siege. A passenger flight has already landed, and cargo planes have taken off. The first departing passenger plane is scheduled tomorrow, reports CNN. It will be days before both airports in the... More »

Protesters Will Leave Bangkok Airports

PAD announces end to demonstrations; flights will resume soon

(Newser) - Anti-government protesters in Thailand will end their occupation of Bangkok's two airports, allowing stranded tourists to fly home as soon as Thursday. All protests will end tomorrow, the People's Alliance for Democracy announced today, following a decision by the country's constitutional court that dissolved the leading political parties and barred... More »

Thai Court Dissolves Ruling Party, Boots PM

Court dissolves ruling parties in fraud case, triggers scramble to form new government

(Newser) - A Thai court has ordered the country's ruling coalition parties to be dissolved and Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawt and other leaders immediately banned from politics for five years after finding them guilty of electoral fraud, Reuters reports. Wongsawat has accepted the ruling but it's unclear whether his ouster will be... More »

Grenade Blast Hurts 46 Thai Protesters

PAD blames pro-government forces, says it's willing to die for cause

(Newser) - A grenade blast at the prime minister’s compound in Bangkok has wounded 46 anti-government protesters, at least two critically, Reuters reports. A leader of the party leading the protest blamed pro-government forces for the attack, which comes as demonstrations at the Government House and Bangkok's international airport garner worldwide... More »

Thai Troops Prepare to Storm Airport

Government declares state of emergency

(Newser) - The Thai government has declared a state of emergency and is preparing to storm Bangkok's international airport, the Times of London reports. Officials are attempting to negotiate a peaceful solution with representatives of thousands of anti-government protesters who have occupied the city’s two airports since Tuesday—but 30 medical... More »

Thai Protesters Seize Second Airport

All flights grounded; government mulls emergency rule

(Newser) - The government of Thailand is considering imposing emergency rule after protesters seized a second airport in Bangkok today, grounding all flights, reports the Telegraph. Some 3,000 members of the People's Alliance for Democracy massed at the smaller Don Mueang airport to prevent ministers from flying to Chiang Mai, where... More »

3K Stranded in Bangkok as PM Refuses to Step Down

Army pressures government as violence grows between factions

(Newser) - Thailand’s government today rejected a top general’s demand it dissolve parliament and hold elections, the Guardian reports, as protesters demand that Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat step down entirely. Wongsawat snuck back into Thailand today and plans to meet with the king, whom protesters support; a pro-government gang killed... More »

Thai Gen. Demands Elections After Explosions

Hey denies move amounts to coup

(Newser) - Following a second explosion at a Bangkok airport seized by protesters, Thailand's top general today demanded that parliament be dissolved and new elections held. Gen Anupong Paochinda denied the move amounted to a coup, and insisted the government was still in control. He also ordered protesters to leave Bangkok's international... More »

Thai Protesters Open Fire on Opponents

Shots fired at civilians as 6-month protest turns violent

(Newser) - Protesters in Thailand seeking to bring down the government opened fire on a group of political opponents along a blockaded highway today, Reuters reports. Television footage showed at least two guards from the so-called People's Alliance for Democracy firing 6 rounds at government supporters. The incident took place along a... More »

Thai Protesters Shut Down Parliament

Vow 'final battle' for control of nation

(Newser) - Tens of thousands of raucous Thai protesters surrounded parliament today, forcing officials to shut it down, reports the BBC. Spokesmen for the pro-monarchist People's Alliance for Democracy vowed that the current action marks the "final battle" for the nation's government. Other groups marched on police headquarters and the foreign... More »

Grenade Blast Hits Thai Protesters

Anti-government group vows to topple government after fatal attack

(Newser) - Thai protesters vowed to step up their campaign to oust the government after a grenade thrown into their camp killed one and injured 23 this morning, Reuters reports. The government—and a renegade major-general who vowed to attack the protesters with bombs and snakes dropped from planes—denied involvement. Unions... More »

Fugitive Thai PM Divorces

Split thought to shelter couple's assets as UK boots Thaksin; may have fled to Dubai

(Newser) - Thaksin Shinawatra, the former prime minister of Thailand, has divorced his wife Potjaman—a fellow fugitive—after 32 years of marriage, reports the Financial Times. Thaksin is said to have left London for Dubai after the British government revoked their visas, citing their convictions on tax evasion and conflict of... More »

Anti-Government Thais Give That Protest a Hand

Mechanical 'clappers' become vital accessory for cheering at rallies

(Newser) - Plastic hand-shaped clappers have become a must-have among Thais trying to bring down their government, AFP reports. Hands clapped raw by months of protesting need a break, and vendors outside the occupied Government House sell hundreds of clappers daily. The clappers—used to hound the prime minister out of a... More »

Thai Riots Rattle Gentle Anteaters

Zoo officials move sensitive animals away from noise and tear gas

(Newser) - Violent clashes in Bangkok between police and protesters have produced two unlikely refugees—anteaters in the city's Dusit Zoo. Two 4-year-old anteaters who arrived from the US last year have been moved to another zoo where they won't be traumatized by the noise of rioting or tear gas, the BBC... More »

Thai Deputy PM Quits as Clashes Injure 100

Protesters barricade government inside parliament after police tear-gassing

(Newser) - Thailand's deputy PM has resigned after fierce clashes between anti-government protesters and police outside the country's parliament injured at least 100 people and killed one, Reuters reports. Police fired tear gas canisters into a crowd of 5,000 people protesting new prime minister Somchai Wongsawat's first policy speech, causing serious... More »

Thaksin Relative Elected Thai Prime Minister

Protesters vow to reject brother-in-law of exiled leader

(Newser) - The No. 2 figure in Thailand's ruling party and the brother-in-law of exiled leader Thaksin Shinawatra was easily elected prime minister today. Somchai Wongsawat will take office after he receives the endorsement of the king. But the People's Alliance for Democracy, whose protest outside the prime minister's office continues, have... More »

Thaksin In-Law Nominated to Lead Thailand

Choice of husband of ousted PM's sister infuriates protesters

(Newser) - Thailand's ruling party has chosen a brother-in-law of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra to step into his old job, Reuters reports, sparking a firestorm among protesters who charge the pick will let Thaksin retain control from exile in London. Somchai Wongsawat has been acting PM since last week, but his accession... More »

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