Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Censure debate against Thai PM into second day

Radio Australia

Thailand's prime minister, Samak Sundaravej, is facing a second day of criticism in parliament, as the country's opposition pursues a no-confidence vote against him.

Our correspondent in Bangkok, Karen Percy, says a censure debate against Mr Samak and his coalition government has centred on the ancient Preah Vihear temple, which straddles Thailand and neighbouring Cambodia.

The opposition has criticised a deal struck by the government which puts the temple inside Cambodia, while allowing joint management of the site.

Opposition members say Thailand has given away sovereignty, in return for Cambodia allowing an island development for the former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr Thaksin was ousted in a coup in 2006 and is banned from politics.

But the opposition and thousands of protesters say Mr Thaksin is running the government from behind the scenes.

Mr Samak says he is not Mr Thaksin's nominee.

Despite saying he would wait until the very end to respond to the criticisms, Mr Samak has stood up on a number of occasions to defend himself.

Mr Samak's brash personality and his use of harsh language at times has also come into focus.

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