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Double trouble for Thai PM

world Updated: Apr 13, 2010 00:38 IST

Thailand’s Election Commission recommended the embattled ruling party be dissolved on Monday, potentially handing victory to anti-government protesters who have demanded the prime minister step down.

The ruling comes the same day that Thailand’s army chief appeared to back a key demand of the protesters, saying Parliament might need to be dissolved to resolve the country’s violent political standoff.

Together, the comments by General Anupong Paochinda and the election body’s decision could spell the end of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s rule, which the protesters say is illegitimate. Abhisit was largely seen as having the backing of the powerful military, which has traditionally played an important role in the country’s politics, and has not hesitated to step in with coups in times of political instability.

The commission found the Democrat Party — Thailand’s oldest — guilty of misusing campaign donations.

The ruling will have to be endorsed by the Constitutional Court before the party of Abhisit is disbanded.

“If the issue cannot be resolved through political means, then Parliament dissolution seems to be a reasonable step,” Anupong told reporters. “If people want a government of national unity, then by all means, go ahead. I just want peace to prevail.”

“Right now the circumstances dictate that a solution should be achieved through political means,” he said.

Tourists warned

Asian countries, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan issued travel advisories over the weekend warning tourists to stay away from Bangkok as the violence had spilled over into the Khao San Road area favoured by backpackers, causing alarm.