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Anupong's panel calls for House dissolution and end of protests

A situation monitoring panel under the Army resolved on Wednesday to make a dual call for the government to dissolve the House and the People's Alliance for Democracy to end its protests.

Army chief Gen Anupong Paochinda said at a press conference that this is a best way out of the political turmoil as the rival camps will have to simultanously cease their fights.

The panel brings together public and private sector representatives including academics. How the political rivals will take the proposal will be known soon, or after Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat returns to Thailand later today.

The panel, however, expects the government to take the first move on the House dissolution, followed by the PAD to completely stop the opposition movement.

The panel will submit the proposal in writing to the government. The proposal is based on hope that should the government fails to heed the advice, the bureaucracy might resort to civil disobedience to stop implementing government orders. And in case the PAD fails to end the protests, social sanction will be imposed.

Anupong emerged after two-and-a-half hour meeting with academics and leading civil servants at the Army headquarter. He was last week named by Somchai to head the task force to monitor the volatile political situation which culminated in the PAD seizing the Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday.

"The country is being affected by this crisis, which involves the government and the PAD," Anupong said. "It is therefore their responsibility to try and solve the conflict. The government should return power to the people and the PAD should end its activities. This is our proposal, not an attempt to put pressure on them."

Suraphol Nitikraipot, Thammasat University rector and a member of the panel, said he hoped society will come up with its own form of pressure if both sides remain stubborn.

"We think that if the government returns power to the people, the PAD automatically will have to end its campaign, otherwise the movement will not be able to answer social questions," he said.




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