>Activists, businessmen file a petition at palace

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SIRIKUL BUNNAG WASSANA NANUAM

Opposition to Samak Sundaravej (pictured) returning as prime minister took a new turn yesterday when several groups appealed to His Majesty the King. More than 100 social activists and businessmen, led by former Chiang Rai senator Tuenjai Deetes and women’s rights activist Thicha na Nakhon, signed a petition that was given to the Office of His Majesty’s Principal Private Secretary.

”We don’t oppose him out of personal hatred. We’re concerned about the future of our country,” said Ms Thicha, director of the youth training centre of Kanjanapisek Remand Home.

Mr Samak violated the 2007 constitution and broke laws before and during his term as prime minister, Ms Thicha said.

Before he assumed office, the Criminal Court had found him and his TV co-host Dusit Siriwan guilty of defaming former deputy Bangkok governor Samart Ratchapolsitte during their TV talk show in 2006.

While in office, Mr Samak violated the constitution by hosting two TV cooking shows, which triggered a conflict of interest. His government is also blamed for backing Cambodia’s move to list Preah Vihear temple on the border with Cambodia as a World Heritage site without parliamentary approval.

Bringing him back as prime minister, Ms Thicha said, would show disrespect to the constitution and the judges who disqualified him.

Panitan Wattanayagorn, a political analyst from Chulalongkorn University, called on House members to pay attention to growing public resistance to Mr Samak’s return.

People wanted a prime minster of high morals who could cope with the crisis, he said.

Mr Panitan supported a parliamentary solution even if it involved a house dissolution and the return of a People Power party-led government.

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