Thailand's Samak halts bid for job

Thailand's ousted prime minister on Friday abandoned his bid to regain his job but the surprise move failed to appease protesters who responded with a call to purge the entire Cabinet.

Former Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej also said he would give up leadership of the ruling party, according to his aide Teerapon Noprampa.

The announcements came after Samak's People's Power Party said it would not try to reinstall Samak. That decision was a clear sign that the ruling party sees the blunt-speaking conservative as a liability.

Samak, 73, has antagonized many segments of Thai society during four decades in politics, including the media and the military.

A Constitutional Court ruling dismissed him on Tuesday for violating a conflict-of-interest law by accepting money for hosting two television cooking shows while in office.

The court ruling cleared the way to appointing a new prime minister – and allowed Samak an exit without having to bow to protesters demanding his resignation.

A clear successor to Samak was yet to emerge. Two of the three candidates shortlisted by the ruling party have close links to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, which could further incense protesters who objected to Samak because they said he was a Thaksin stooge.