Decision to step down was for 'good of country'
Somkid Jatusripitak said his decision to step down was to end mounting pressure to his appointment, but it would not bar him from returning to politics in the next general election.
Somkid yesterday announced his resignation as envoy for the sufficiency economy after less than a week.
His decision was welcomed by a number of veteran politicians and political activists who had opposed his surprise appointment.
Somkid's appointment had caused a political uproar and put pressure on Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont by opposition groups who suspected ulterior motives behind the deal.
In an emotional statement, Somkid said he did not want conflict in society to escalate as the country had already suffered from two years of political crises.
"I don't think conflict should be escalated, so I will step back for the time being in order to end it," Somkid, a former deputy prime minister and finance minister in the Thaksin administration, told a press conference at the Intercontinental Hotel.
He said he wanted to show through his resignation that reconciliation must be given priority at this time.
Somkid was appointed late last week as chairman of the special committee in charge of preaching sufficiency economy to the world.
Critics and action groups, especially the People's Alliance for Democracy, cried foul over his appointment, saying he was the economic architect of the Thaksin government and a staunch supporter of Thaksinomics.
Somkid said yesterday he held opposing views to the former prime minister but could not resign from the Thaksin government because he did not want to leave the country's economy in a crisis.
He appreciated Prime Minister Surayud giving him a chance to serve the country as the sufficiency theory envoy and said his appointment to the post proved Surayud wanted reconciliation.
Somkid said he had volunteered to work for the country and explain the sufficiency theory after foreign media had attacked it and caused misunderstanding abroad.
He could still serve the country without a position. "Politics is uncertain and in the next seven to eight months there will be a general election," he said. "People who support me and agree with my stance should come and join me in order to solve the problems in the country."
Somkid refused to answer questions about his political future but one of his close aides said Somkid's political activity will depend on the new Constitution which is now being drafted.
Somkid said he strongly believed that His Majesty the King's philosophy of sufficiency economy is Thailand's future, claiming it does not go against modern economic theory because it could be adapted everywhere in the world.
He insisted his stance was independent, both when he worked with Thaksin and now - which was why Thaksin removed him during the later years of the administration.
"I did not leave the Thaksin government earlier because I had talked with a poo yai [influential figure] who advised me to stay where I could help the country," said Somkid, adding during the first few years of the Thaksin administration, the country was in an economic mess when nine out of 10 companies were broke and many people had lost their jobs.
The first task was to restore the economy and to help the grass roots via the OTOP scheme, while in the later years of the Thaksin administration, he tried to push for economic reforms in order to increase the nation's competitiveness.
However, he admitted it was not an easy task.