The further problem for the decay of Samak’s legitimacy is that if he clings on, he gives the military greater justification for stepping in and throwing out his Government.

After the fiasco of a military-led interim government in 2006-07 that was unable to create conditions that would prevent another Thaksin-like government arising, the army, in particular, is deeply reluctant to dirty its hands again.

But not totally unwilling, according to rumours flying around Bangkok after a meeting on Friday between the armed forces supreme commander and the three services chiefs.

They decided, according to the gossip, that if the Government-PAD deadlock looked like continuing indefinitely, they would intervene. And no one thinks that would be on Samak’s side.

– Extracted from Peter Alford, “Samak risks coup by clinging to power”, The Australian, 10 September 2008.