January 18, 2014 00:00 By Jeerapong Prasertpolkrung,
Yingluck tells foreign media the only way to end conflict is to hold elections
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra told foreign media yesterday that the easiest way to bring her down would be through the February 2 election, adding that other unconstitutional ways would not fix any problems.
At a meeting with representatives of 15 foreign media outlets, she said that if Thailand could pull through the February 2 election, then the political conflict would definitely come to an end.
Massive anti-government protests led by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) in the capital are pressuring Yingluck to step down ahead of the elections, paving the way for an interim government that can implement reforms.
When asked if it wasn’t time for the Shinawatra family to distance itself from Thai politics, and whether it would be good for the country if she stepped down, she said: “I’m here because I’m doing my duty as a caretaker prime minister until a new government is elected. I cannot just step down. Using votes in an election is the best way.”
She also called on all conflicting parties to sit down and look for a way out, saying that the protesters’ proposal could not be achieved constitutionally.
Also, toppling her government through a military coup would not be a solution, she said, adding that her government would do its best to maintain peace and order in the country.
Asked if she consulted her brother, former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, about the situation, she said she only consulted her deputies and the security team.
Meanwhile, opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva met with Matilda Bogne, the regional representative of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights yesterday.
He said that when he showed her evidence of the Monday gun attack on the Democrat Party headquarters, Bogne expressed concerns about the violence.
The government, meanwhile, has asked the UN human-rights agency representative to witness the ongoing chaos in the capital, while Abhisit said he hoped the UN would obtain comprehensive information.
He also blamed the caretaker government of falsely convincing foreign governments, including US congressmen, as well as the foreign media to take its side.
“Thai people understand the situation well and foreigners will understand eventually,” he said.
The foreign media has mostly been portraying the anti-government protesters and the Democrat Party as a threat to Thai democracy, saying the ongoing rallies could lead to military intervention.
An editorial in the Washington Post’s on Thursday said: “What amounts to a coup attempt is being supported by many in the opposition Democratic Party.” It also urged the US administration to take a clear stance against a possible military coup to overthrow the government.
The Democrat Party has boycotted the election and is backing the protest to bring the government down.