Thailand's beleaguered Prime Minister, Samak Sundaravej, has said he will not resign despite mounting pressure.

In a radio address to the nation, he said he would not bow to the demands of anti-government protesters.

On Tuesday Mr Samak imposed a state of emergency in Bangkok after his supporters and opponents clashed in the capital, leaving one person dead.

Protesters say the government is a front for Thaksin Shinawatra - the former prime minister, now in
exile.

"I am not resigning," Mr Samak said, adding that he had a popular mandate to govern.

"These people want the government to quit, but how could I do that if the entire world is watching? It would be embarrassing to do so," he said.

He would not
dissolve parliament, he said, adding that he would stay "to preserve democracy and to protect the monarchy".

Mr Samak's comments came shortly after the Thai foreign minister, Tej Bunnag, who was a close adviser to the king, had offered his resignation.

Divided society

Thousands of members of the opposition People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) remain in official compounds in Bangkok, which they seized more than a week ago. "The PAD will not hold talks with the government or anyone," one of the PAD leaders, Somsak Kosaisuk, said earlier. "The PAD will talk only after Samak has resigned."

The PAD has a passionate following in various parts of the country, especially Bangkok, and some powerful backers among the elite.

But it has little support in most of rural Thailand, which voted strongly for Mr Samak, and Mr Thaksin before him. Thai society remains deeply divided over the issue.

As the standoff has developed, some unions have begun supporting the protesters.

However, a strike called by an umbrella group of 43 unions on Wednesday appeared to have failed.

This was good news for the government, reports the BBC's Jonathan Head from Bangkok.

But the prime minister's attempt to contain the PAD protests with a state of emergency has also fallen flat.

The army has simply refused to exercise the extra powers he gave them, arguing that the conflict is a political one that cannot be solved by military intervention.

  1. beleaguered圍困的,包圍的
  2. despite侮辱;損害
  3. resign放棄,辭去
  4. bow順從,屈服[(+to/before)]
  5. impose...強加於[(+on/upon)]
  6. a state of emergency緊急狀態
  7. opponent對手;敵手,反對者[C]
  8. clash發生衝突;不調和;抵觸[(+with)]
  9. exile流放;流亡;離開本國,離鄉背井[U][S1]
  10. resign辭職
  11. mandate授權,委任
  12. dissolve (議會等)解散
  13. parliament議會
  14. preserve保護;維護;維持
  15. monarchy君主政治,君主政體[U][C]
  16. seize奪取;攻佔
  17. compound用圍牆(或籬笆等)圍起的場地,院子
  18. elite精華;精英;優秀分子
  19. rural農村的
  20. divide使對立,分裂
  21. attempt企圖,嘗試[(+at/on)][+to-v]
  22. contain控制,遏制
  23. intervention干預;調停,斡旋

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