Thailand PM issues coup warning
Thailand's prime minister on Friday urged opposition supporters not to incite another military coup with their provocative rhetoric over proposed amendments to the country's constitution.
Premier Samak Sundaravej's ruling People Power Party (PPP) and its five coalition partners are considering a series of changes to the constitution, which was drafted by a panel installed by the junta that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra in 2006.
Samak said he was facing accusations of being disloyal to the country's revered monarchy, as did Thaksin before he was removed.
"There is widespread incitement by those who are focusing on the issue of the constitutional amendments and accuse me of being disloyal to the monarchy like Thaksin. They believe I should be removed from office," Samak told a seminar of the National Economic and Social Advisory Council.
Samak refuted any similarities to Thaksin and reiterated that his government had been democratically elected after winning December polls.
"There are people trying to incite the military to stage another coup," he said, adding that a rumour had circulated claiming the military had already executed a drill in preparation for a coup.
Samak said his government would press ahead with the amendments. His party will meet with the other five smaller parties of the governing coalition on May 7 to discuss the document.
"We have had 18 constitutions and 30 amendments so I am eager to know why this amendment would end up in bloodshed.
"It must be amended quickly because if the house is dissolved for any reason we will have no way of amending it," he said.
Samak attacked those who oppose the amendments, asking why they had remained silent when the military scrapped the 1997 constitution after the 2006 coup.
He insisted that the amendments would not be written to benefit his party or its partners as they would not come into effect until the following parliament.