Embattled Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundarvej is to hold a national referendum in an attempt to end a political crisis gripping Thailand. A defiant Samak has dismissed speculation that he will quit or call a quick election, despite opposition campaigners continuing to occupy his offices. Seen by critics as a ploy to buy time, the referendum could to take place in early October.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy has accused Samak of being corrupt and an illegal puppet for ex-Thai premier Thakson Shinawatra, ousted in a 2006 coup. On Tuesday, a state of emergency was declared after clashes broke out between pro and anti-government demonstrators. But, the army has refused to exercise its full powers, claiming the conflict is a political one. One man was killed and 45 people were injured in the protests.