The outgoing premier, Banharn Silpa-archa, is fiercely resisting demands by his ambitious Defence Minister, General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, to be given his job. For, unlike Julius Caesar who was also stabbed in the back by his friends, Mr Banharn is proving to be still alive - and kicking. The Prime Minister was forced on Saturday to agree to resign within seven days, as the price of his coalition colleagues' support in an opposition no-confidence vote against him. He appears determined to avoid naming one of his political assassins, especially General Chavalit, who made the premier squirm by demanding a public agreement to resign before the vote was held. If he does not get his way he has threatened to choose the 'nuclear option': dissolving the House of Representatives and so forcing an expensive election on his colleagues. The coalition partners who ruthlessly ousted Mr Banharn as a sop to widespread concern over rampant corruption appear to be backing General Chavalit for now. The Defence Minister is insisting he is the natural choice, being the leader of the second biggest of the six-party coalition's members, the New Aspiration Party. To spite these fair-weather friends, Mr Banharn has plumped for his sometime rival and brother-in-law, Pramarn Adireksarn. Mr Pramarn is 'old and tired', in the words of one insider, but has the kudos that comes with being one of the grand old men of Thai politics and a former Chart Thai leader. More importantly, from Mr Banharn's point of view, he did not hold one of the knives that were so enthusiastically wielded on Saturday.