By John Roberts
11 December 2008
After intense behind-the-scenes manoeuvring, Thailand’s opposition Democrat Party announced on Monday it had the numbers to form a new government and formally called for the reconvening of parliament. The push is the outcome of a protracted campaign by anti-government protesters, backed by the monarchy, the military, the state bureaucracy and the courts, to oust the elected People Power Party (PPP)-led government.
On December 2, the Constitutional Court dissolved the PPP and two of its coalition allies for electoral fraud, effectively ousting Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat. Somchai and 108 party officials are banned from politics for five years, leaving 39 parliamentary seats vacant. Former Deputy Prime Minister Chaovarat Chanweerakul is currently head of a caretaker government.