Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, under pressure from anti-government protesters to resign, offered to hold a national referendum on demand to form a council of unelected individuals.
“I am willing to resign or dissolve the parliament if it helps resolve the current political conflict,” Yingluck said in televised broadcast on state-owned TV network today. “The protest leaders’ demand for a people’s council is unconstitutional. I cannot meet their demand. But I am willing to hold referendum on a people’s council to check whether the majority of Thais agree with this proposal.”
Suthep Thaugsuban, a former member of the opposition Democrat party, is seeking to replace Thailand’s democratic system with a council consisting of “good people” from a cross-section of society as part of a strategy to dismantle the political network of Yingluck’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, whose allies have won every election in the country since Thaksin was deposed in a 2006 coup.
Yingluck and the opposition both vowed to avoid violence to obtain their goals.
“The government will use non-violent measures in keeping the security of demonstrations tomorrow,” Yingluck told reporters today in Bangkok. “The police will not harm the people.”
If Yingluck isn’t ousted tomorrow, Suthep will surrender to the police, according to an e-mailed release from the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, which describes itself as “ a broad-based people’s movement committed to rooting out Thaksin’s regime to build an inclusive Thai society based upon sustainable democratic principles.”
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