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Game reaches dead end

Posted by Rattana_S On December - 11 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

PM pleads for justice as PDRC pushes on with its ultimatum

CARETAKER Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra fought back tears yesterday when asked by reporters to respond to the anti-government group’s demand that the whole Shinawatra clan leave the country.

In a shaky voice, her eyes welling with tears, she said she has backed down to the point where she did not know how to back down any further.

“Everyone can get hurt. It is not that I have no feelings. I have paid attention to the protesters’ demands. We all are Thais. Do you want us not to even live on Thai soil?” Yingluck asked.

Suthep Thaugsuban, a former Democrat MP and leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), on Monday succeeded in mobilising over 100,000 protesters and demanded Yingluck and the entire Cabinet immediately relinquish administrative power after she announced the dissolution of the House of Representatives. He also vowed to create a “People’s Assembly” to reshape the country.

Though the new election date has been declared for February 2, the situation remains tense, as it is unclear if Thailand’s oldest party – the Democrats – would boycott the election, as they did in 2006.

The situation in Bangkok has caught international attention. Yesterday, Jen Psaki, spokesperson for the US Department of State, said in a statement: “We encourage all involved to resolve political differences peacefully and democratically in a way that reflects the will of the Thai people and strengthens the rule of law.”

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle also issued a statement, saying: “Confrontation is not a solution. Political exchange and a democratic dialogue is the right solution for now.”

He also noted that if Bangkok witnessed more use of force, and more bloodshed, it would be a backward step for democracy, political and social stability as well as for Thailand’s economic development.

Yingluck yesterday said she would stay on until the election was over. She also urged protesters to end their rallies and to go to the polls, to uphold democracy.

Thailand yesterday celebrated Constitution Day, remembering King Rama VII for the promulgation of the first constitution in 1932.

“What the government could do is to dissolve the House and return power to the people. We do not want to see violence,” Yingluck said. Though key members of the Pheu Thai Party want her to contest the election, she said there has been no consultation yet. She refused to say if she would quit politics.

“I did not think that the situation would turn out to be like this. I do not want to see Thai politics become violence-prone,” she said.

Former House speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont said the PDRC’s demand for the government to resign is driving the country towards a dead end.

In a televised programme, caretaker Justice Minister Chaikasem Nitisiri announced that in a consultation between government agencies including the Council of State, under the Constitution’s Article 181, the government cannot leave office before the election is complete.

“The Cabinet is working based on the principle of collective responsibility. We have been appointed by His Majesty the King. But Suthep tried to establish another government without any legal support. The legal government considered that the PDRC’s actions were violating His Majesty the King’s royal prerogative power,” he said.

Suthep urged protesters to stay with him until tomorrowDecember 12. In the announcement on Monday, he called officials across the country to report to the PDRC, rather than to their offices, in a bid to paralyse the administration.

Thousands of anti-government protesters from all directions on Monday continued their march to the Government House although Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has announced House dissolution.

Leaders of the protests, most of them were former Democrat MPs, said it was too late, the dissolution of the House was now meaningless as Yingluck government is still in the job as interim government.

They reiterated that setting up of ’people’s council’ is necessary to ensure that Thaksin Regime and its servants will not come back.

The protests from eight routes started at 9.39am and headed to the Government House. The main march from the Government Complex that is led by Suthep Thausuban left before the set time as it was the farthest compared to other routes.

The protesters at the Government Complex left the venue at 8.30am. None of protesters were left behind.

Some 50 vehicles joined the procession which had a convoy of motorcyclists in the front. Many people along the way joined the procession as it passed them.

Meanwhile Satit Wongnongtaey and Tavorn Senieum, protest leaders at the Democracy Monument, demanded the caretaker government to resign following House dissolution.

Satit told protesters that House dissolution was a first victory but was not enough for achieving real democracy and the protests would continue.

He said the People’s Democratic Reform Committee wanted the people’s council to be formed and the caretaker Cabinet to resign. Tavorn said the protesters wanted the caretaker government to resign.

Meanwhile hundreds of protesters whose rally site is near at the Government House arrived at the venue and started laying siege.

Yingluck who announced the House dissolution in the morning is at Royal Police Bureau headquarters on Pathumwan Road.

Thai PM calls snap election, protesters press on

Posted by Rattana_S On December - 9 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

(Reuters) – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament on Monday and called a snap election, but anti-government protest leaders pressed ahead with mass demonstrations seeking to install an unelected body to run Thailand.

Protesters have been on the streets of the capital for weeks, clashing with police and vowing to oust Yingluck and eradicate the influence of her self-exiled brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The clashes petered out last week as the nation celebrated the revered king’s birthday, but political hostilities are set to resume in earnest.

The demonstrations are the latest eruption in nearly a decade of rivalry between forces aligned with the Bangkok-based establishment and those who support Thaksin, a former telecommunications tycoon who won huge support in the countryside with pro-poor policies.

“At this stage, when there are many people opposed to the government from many groups, the best way is to give back the power to the Thai people and hold an election. So the Thai people will decide,” Yingluck said in a televised address as thousands of protesters resumed demonstrations across Bangkok.

The leader of the anti-government movement, Suthep Thaugsuban, said he would not end his demonstrations and would continue a march to Yingluck’s offices at Government House.

“Today, we will continue our march to Government House. We have not yet reached our goal. The dissolving of parliament is not our aim,” Suthep, a former deputy prime minister under the previous military-backed government, told Reuters.

Police estimated as many as 50,000 people joined protests at different sites in Bangkok.

Yingluck’s Puea Thai Party won the last election in 2011 by a landslide, enjoying widespread support in the north and northeast, Thailand’s poorest regions. The Democrats have not won an election in more than two decades.

Suthep, aware that Yingluck would likely win an election if one were called, has been urging the setting-up of a “people’s council” of appointed “good people” to replace the government. Yingluck has dismissed the idea as unconstitutional and undemocratic.

Underscoring the divide, the pro-establishment opposition Democrat Party said on Sunday all of its members of the House of Representatives would give up their seats because they were unable to work with Yingluck’s ruling party.

Without the Democrats, the 500-member lower house will have 347 members.


Calling an election will not end Thailand’s political deadlock if the Democrats boycott it, says Pavin Chachavalpongpun of Kyoto University’s Centre for Southeast Asian Studies.

In 2006, amid mass protests, the Democrats refused to contest a snap election called by Thaksin, who was deposed by the military five months later.

“This is only a short-term solution because there is no guarantee that the Democrats will come back and play by the rules,” says Pavin. “We don’t know whether they will boycott the elections or not.”

“It seems like Thailand is going nowhere,” he said.

Suthep has told his supporters they have to take back power from what he calls the illegitimate “Thaksin regime” and that they cannot rely on the army to help.

The army, which ousted Thaksin in 2006, has said it does not want to get involved though it has tried to mediate.

Thaksin fled Thailand in 2008 to avoid a graft conviction but has remained closely involved with his sister’s government.

The protests were sparked last month by a government bid to introduce an amnesty that would have expunged his conviction.

(Additional reporting by Andrew R.C. Marshall; Writing by Jason Szep; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Yingluck says govt still open for talks

Posted by Rattana_S On December - 7 - 2013 ADD COMMENTS

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told foreign media Saturday that she was still “open for talks” with the protest leader, Suthep Thaugsuban.

“I still leave all the doors open. And I am ready for talks with him,” she said.

Saturday, the PM gave interviews to Reuters, the Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Financial Times, and the Straits Times.

The government will, however, place all ministry offices under high alert Monday and they expect protesters to try to enter some of offices, including at Government House.

“It must end on December 9. If not enough protesters come out or if it doesn’t succeed, all co-leaders will surrender themselves and will to be prosecuted under insurrection and other charges,” Ekanat said.

“However, if a million [protesters] turn out as on November 24 then we are confident that there will definitely be change.

“If the government won’t listen to the people, the PDRC will not give the government a chance any longer. This is the last demonstration and it won’t be a picnic.”