10 Sep 2008

PM ordered to quit for being on TV show

6:54 am on 10 September 2008

Thailand's Constitutional Court has ordered Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej to step down for hosting a cooking show.

In a televised broadcast on Tuesday, the court said he violated the constitution by working with a private company and called it a conflict of interest.

But Mr Samak's party, the People Power Party, said it would re-elect him within the week.

Meanwhile, protesters vow to keep up a campaign that has paralysed the government.

The People's Alliance for Democracy accuses Mr Samak of being a puppet of Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted as premier by the army in a coup in 2006.

A BBC correspondent says the court's decision has been criticised as being politically motivated.

Mr Samak toured a meat and vegetable market on Tuesday before his weekly cabinet meeting.

At a pro-government rally on Monday evening, he vowed not to resign or call a snap election.