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Thai premier refuses to step down

world Updated: Jun 22, 2008 13:02 IST

Thailand's Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej on Sunday said he would not resign despite massive street protests demanding his ouster.

In his weekly talk show programme on national broadcasting service NBT, Sundaravej stressed that he had a popular mandate and would not bow to the demands by the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), an anti-government civil group which besieged the Government House since Friday.

"I don't know what the protest will bring for the country. And if I step down, what will it bring for the country? If I step down, if I stage a mass rally besieging the Government House, attacking the new premier, what will it bring for the country? I don't know how the other countries will look on Thailand," said Samak.

Samak said the PAD was holding the protests because of their five leaders' hatred and grudge towards former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

He said there were no justified causes for the PAD to hold rallies because Thaksin has no relation with the present government.

"I listened to what they said during the rallies and heard them attacking the former prime minister all the time," Samak said.

He said the government cancelled the plan to amend the charter but the PAD continued to demonstrate.

The PAD had repeatedly changed issues for rallying but all reasons were driven by its hatred and grudge towards Thaksin, who was ousted during a military coup in 2006, Samak said.