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Former Thai PM to end comeback bid, aide says

  • Story Highlights
  • Parliament has postponed until next week a vote to elect a new prime minister
  • Parliament delayed its vote after most legislators failed to show up
  • Thai court stripped Sundaravej of post as prime minister for violating constitution
  • He participated in TV cooking show as paid guest -- infringing the constitution
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BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Samak Sundaravej has decided to end his bid to return as Thailand's prime minister, according to an aide.

The country's Constitutional Court removed Samak from the post this week after ruling that he violated the constitution by appearing as a paid guest on a TV cooking show.

According to The Associated Press, an aide says Samak will now quit as leader of Thailand's ruling party and will not accept renomination.

Teerapon Noprampa told AP Friday that Samak told him to tell "every reporter that he is going to step down from being the party leader and he will not accept the prime ministership." Video Watch more about Samak's decision »

The ruling People's Power Party said earlier it was abandoning its bid to install Samak back in power. The announcements raise hopes of ending a political crisis buffeting the country.

The Thai parliament had postponed a vote earlier Friday on whether to return Sundaravej as prime minister. It delayed its vote after most legislators failed to show up.

Parliament is scheduled to convene next on Wednesday, according to the Thai News Agency, which is owned by a public company controlled by the government

Leaders of the People Power Party had said since Tuesday that they would seek to restore Samak, but they need to convince five other parties in the coalition to go along with that choice. Some lawmakers have indicated they will propose an alternate candidate.

Meanwhile, Thailand's army chief said Thursday that he backed the creation of a unity government that would include all the country's parties, the Thai News Agency said.

Gen. Anupong Paochinda also asked that the caretaker government lift a state of emergency that Samak imposed in the capital city of Bangkok on September 2 after clashes between his followers and opponents.

The 73-year-old Samak appeared on the show "Tasting While Grumbling" for several years before becoming prime minister in February. Since then, he appeared sporadically, serving up personal favorites and dishing on topics that struck his fancy. Video Watch CNN's Dan Rivers on the latest crisis for Samak »

Even before the court ruling, Samak's opponents have tried to force his ouster through several means.

He is a facing charges of corruption, appealing a three-year prison sentence for defaming a deputy governor and dealing with an election commission decision last week that his party committed electoral fraud in the December elections and should be dissolved.

In addition, thousands of protesters have since August 26 camped outside the Government House, the government's headquarters -- blocking Samak from entering.

The protesters have demanded that Samak step down. They accuse him of being a proxy for his ousted predecessor, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Last week, he declared a state of emergency in Bangkok after clashes between his supporters and anti-government demonstrators wounded 40 and left one person dead.


The People's Alliance for Democracy, which is heading the protests, contends Samak is trying to amend the constitution so Thaksin does not have to face charges. Thaksin, who was ousted in a coup in 2006, returned to England last month just as he was to appear in court in a corruption case.

Thailand's cabinet said last week that it would hold a national referendum to determine whether Samak should stay in office -- but it has not agreed on the wording or when it will take place. The status of those plans was unclear given the court's ruling Tuesday.

CNN's Kocha Olarn contributed to this report.

All About ThailandThai PoliticsProtests and DemonstrationsSamak SundaravejThaksin Shinawatra

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