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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs   9 December 2013  
PM suggests public referendum on protesters’ proposals

BANGKOK, Dec 8--- Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Sunday proposed a public referendum in order to make a decision on proposals raised by the anti-government movement, saying the government was ready for a House dissolution on the condition that an election must be held in 60 days.

Ms Yingluck made her televised address today ahead of the mass rally and march to Government House tomorrow led by the anti-goverment People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).

The premier said that the government is ready and willing to dissolve the House of Representatives if the majority of people wish, on the condition that a fresh general election must be held within 60 days as stipulated under the law.

However, if the protesters and major political parties do not respond or accept an election result, this will prolong the county’s political conflicts, the prime minister explained. She added the 2006 chaos where political parties boycotted the election that year by not fielding candidates caused a political vacuum and later led to a coup.

As a result of this, the government proposed the set-up of a forum to discuss proposals made by the protesters.

If a conclusion cannot be reached, the government proposed that a public referendum should be conducted in order to allow the majority of people to make their own decision as well as to give suggestions for holding a fair and clean election. The premier explained that the decision has to gain consensus from political parties, protesters and all sectors in order to completely wipe out conflicts.

Apart from making a proposal, Ms Yingluck also affirmed that she is not clinging to her position. She said that she is willing to dissolve the House of Representatives or to resign from her positions if she was confident that it was a way of leading to an end to political conflicts and helping the country move forward, explaining that the decision has to be truly made by the majority of the people.

Regarding the proposal raised by protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban asking the government to return power to the people without an election, the prime minister said that it is a request which has no conclusion of whether or not it is lawful and democratic.

For the mass rally tomorrow, Ms Yingluck stood firm that the government is ready and willing to listen to the protesters’ proposals in order to jointly make considerations and find resolutions.

Nobody is a loser, she said, adding that everybody, including the nation, would all be winners.

Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) spokesman Akanat Promphan announced that the anti-movement will march from nine key locations in the capital, starting on Monday at 9.39 am, and then converge at Government House.

The protesters will move from nine key locations--- Wong Wian Yai, Democracy Monument, Siam Commercial Bank (Ratchayothin Branch), Ekamai junction, the finance ministry, Silom area, a road along the Ekamai-Ramindra expressway, Phetchaburi road and the Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road.

The group moving from the Government Complex will be led by Suthep Thaugsuban, the protest leader, and will begin marching at 8.29 am.

In addition, other anti-government groups, including the State Enterprises Workers’ Relation Confederation, academics, students, businesspeople and medical workers will also march and join the protest at Government House. (MCOT online news)

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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