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Thailand ruling party urges Thaksin to quit politics

Last Updated: Saturday, February 27, 2010 - 15:48

Bangkok: Thailand`s ruling party on Saturday urged deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra to leave the political stage after the top court ordered the seizure of more than half of his USD 2.3 billion fortune.
The fugitive tycoon said the verdict had made him a "political martyr" of an elitist political system, but politicians from the country`s ruling coalition said he should accept the ruling and stop inciting his supporters to protest.

"Every side should accept the verdict. We want to ask Thaksin to quit the political movement, because if he quits the Red Shirts will quit too," Theptai Seanapong, a spokesman for the ruling Democrat party, told reporters.

The "Red Shirts", so-called for the colour they wear, are a strident political group who view Thaksin as a hero for his populist stance against the country`s establishment and have held numerous street rallies to back him.

After reading a seven-hour verdict on Friday, broadcast on television and radio, Supreme Court judges said the government should seize 46 billion baht (USD 1.4 billion) of the assets from the sale of Thaksin`s telecoms firm.

But they said the twice-elected former leader, who was removed from office in a coup in 2006, could hold on to the money he had already accumulated before taking office in 2001.

Thaksin reacted to the verdict in a video speech from exile in Dubai, where he is living to avoid a two-year jail term for corruption at home, calling the ruling "very political" and a "joke for the world".

His lawyers on Saturday said they would consider submitting fresh evidence to the Supreme Court and would mull an appeal to the World Court.

"Our team of lawyers will consider an appeal within 30 days. There are many regulations to consider," said Thaksin`s lawyer Noppadan Pattama.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, February 27, 2010 - 15:48

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