Thailand lifts emergency decree

Thailand Prime Minister Somchai WongsawatBangkok - Thailand's caretaker Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat on Saturday lifted the emergency decree in Bangkok, after keeping the capital under a hardly noticeable "state of emergency" for more than a week.

Somchai announced the lifted of emergency law together with Army Commander-in-Chief General Anupong Paochinda at a press conference.

Sacked prime minister Samak Sundaravej announced the state of emergency in the capital on September 2 after a pre-dawn clash between pro-government and anti-government groups left one person dead and more than 40 injured.

Pro-government groups were blamed for starting the confrontation in a bid to force thousands of followers of the People's Alliance for Democracy out of Government House, which they had seized on August 26 in an effort to force Samak to resign.

The emergency decree, which bans the gathering of more than five people, failed to solve Samak's political emergency.

General Anupong, who was put in charge of enforcing the decree, immediately announced that he would not use force to oust the protestors at Government House, the seat of the administration.

The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) comprises groups that are openly pro-monarchy and opposed to corrupt politicians, attitudes which the military tends to share.

Samak has meanwhile lost his job. The Constitution Court forced him to resign the premiership on Tuesday after finding him guilty of moonlighting as a television cooking show host, breaching the charter by holding another job other then the premiership.

Somchai, the current acting prime minister, is expected to nominated to replace Samak on Monday by the People Power Party, the largest party in Thailand's coalition government.

Samak is expected to also shed his position as head of the PPP.

Visitors to Bangkok during the past week would have been hard pressed to notice the capital's state of emergency. (dpa)