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Thai Activists Gathering to Celebrate PM's Decision To Step Aside

Critics of Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra are gathering in Bangkok to celebrate his decision to relinquish his duties.

Activists are holding a rally near the Grand Palace today (Friday) to demand total political reform.

Mr. Thaksin stepped aside after the elections he called last Sunday showed strong opposition to his continuing in office. Critics accuse him of corruption and abuse of power.

The opposition boycotted Sunday's election and has vowed to skip by-elections later this month. They say they will rejoin the political process only if the prime minister's powers are limited.

A new government cannot be formed until all parliamentary seats are filled. The opposition boycott left 39 seats empty.

Thailand's foreign minister (Kantathi Suphamongkhon) says a required first meeting of parliament within 30 days of the vote may be delayed.

He said the government is looking at amending the constitutional to break the political impasse.