Ruling party tense after PM Somchai’s royal audience

BANGKOK (The Nation): Repoters and People Power Party MPs were scrambling last night to try to verify claims that Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat might dissolve Parliament.

A grim-looking Somchai was tight-lipped upon his return from a royal audience with HM the King in Hua Hin, saying only that he gave the monarch “a normal report” on government work.

When asked if HM the King gave him any advice or encouragement, Somchai said: “I’m afraid I can’t talk about that.”

Somchai was also asked how he would proceed with government work now.

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“As long as I’m in this position, I have to keep working. I just can’t stay idle,” he said.

When asked if he felt like giving up, he replied: “Can’t do that.”

He appeared tense and absent-minded during the exchange with reporters, and sounded less than convincing about his government’s ability to continue in power.

PPP insiders said a flurry of phone calls ensued among the ruling party’s MPs after the royal audience. “Members of each faction were checking with the more senior MPs, and the words ‘House dissolution’ were one everyone’s lips,” a source said.

Somchai’s status became very shaky following the clashes last week between protesters of the People’s Alliance for Democracy and the police. Two protesters were killed and hundreds were severely injured.

Her Majesty the Queen, accompanied by HRH Princess Chulabhorn Valayalaksana, attended the funeral of one of the victims, Angkana Radubpanyawoot, last night. The queen described her as a good girl who had good intentions to protect the country and the monarchy.

The big blow for Somchai came earlier in the day when results of a primary scientific probe into the mayhem were announced. The results showed that Angkana and other victims were torn apart from the impact of the China-made tear gas canisters fired by the police.

The police earlier suggested that the victims had been killed or wounded by explosives that they themselves or fellow protesters might have been carrying.

Both Somchai and the police later said that they “regretted” the casualties. But they stopped short of apologizing for the bloodshed.

Phuket News

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