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Bangkok state of emergency lifted

Sept. 15, 2008 at 1:47 AM   |   Comments

BANGKOK, Sept. 15 (UPI) -- The Thai government lifted a 2-week-old state of emergency in Bangkok as the country prepared to pick the next prime minister to succeed Samak Sundaravej.

Officials told the Thai News Agency the lifting of the emergency in the capital -- imposed Sept. 2 by Samak in the wake of mounting political protests -- will restore tourism and promote confidence in the country's economy.

Samak, ordered by a court last week to step down for accepting pay as the host of cooking shows on commercial television, has decided not to try to get his post back. The caretaker government must now pick a nominee to take over from Samak as opposition to the current government rages.

The People Power Party was expected to name a new candidate to be submitted for nomination in Parliament this week, TNA reported.

The report said caretaker Justice Minister Sompong Amornwiwat has emerged as the favorite candidate. It said an opinion poll of 2,809 people in Bangkok and outlying areas found that 58.6 percent favored Sompong as the next prime minister.

Any nominee must get the support of the other five coalition partners, which earlier rejected the return of Samak to his post. Opponents say they will not support any government led by the PPP, the report said.

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