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Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Announces Political Break


Thailand's embattled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has announced he will step down in an effort to end that nation's political crisis.

He made the announcement on national television late Tuesday, following a meeting with King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Mr. Thaksin told the nation he will not resume the office of prime minister once parliament reconvenes, but will serve as a caretaker leader until his replacement can be chosen.

The announcement comes after snap elections Sunday that the prime minister called in response to prolonged anti-government protests. His ruling party claimed to have won 57% of the vote, but the opposition boycotted the polls.

Thailand's election commission already had scheduled new elections, because Sunday's poll produced inconclusive results in dozens of constituencies.

Thailand's three main opposition parties said earlier today they would rejoin the political process if Mr. Thaksin were to step down.

They had said they planned to resume street demonstrations Friday.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and REUTERS.

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