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Bid to meet Suthep to find way out

Supporters of the anti-government People

Supporters of the anti-government People

Coalition to invite Democrats, other parties to talks; warn of Asean suspension

Political parties plan to hold talks and send representatives to People's Democratic Reform Committee chief Suthep Thaugsuban for discussions to resolve the political deadlock, as they fear internal conflict could even lead to the country's suspension from Asean.

The coalition parties will call a meeting of 53 political parties to find out what each party thinks about the Constitutional Court ruling that nullified the February 2 election.

Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said yesterday that the meeting would be held at the Royal Police Cadet Academy in Nakhon Pathom's Sam Pran district on Friday.

Prompong said the Democrat Party would be invited to join the meeting. If the party rejects the invitation, the Democrats would be criticised as not being sincere with the public on the issue of democracy, the spokesman said.

Chart Thai Pattana Party's key member Somsak Prissanananthakul said politicians known to be close to Suthep would try and convince him to enter into negotiations.

"In this political crisis, no one wins 100 per cent or loses 100 per cent. The Asean integration will begin in about 100 days. If we are still struggling with internal conflicts, we may lose the chance to become an Asean economic hub as we have aspired. In a worst-case scenario, we may be suspended from Asean,'' he said.

Suthep said yesterday that he has at no time approached anyone for the position of interim premiership, saying the time is not ripe for such a move.

He added that the PDRC would not join talks with the Election Commission in order to find a political solution to the ongoing problems.

Caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister Nuttawut Saikuar recently disclosed a list of people who he claimed were candidates for interim premier to replace Yingluck Shinawatra in case she were to be indicted by the national anti-graft agency over the rice-pledging scheme.

Suthep said the PDRC has never approached anyone to become an interim prime minister and the red shirts' list of names comes from their own imagination.

"We haven't moved to that process, as we have yet to remove the Thaksin regime. The prime minister must resign first and only after that will the search for a neutral premier start," he said.

The former deputy prime minister said the PDRC will definitely not attend any negotiations except face-to-face talks with the prime minister broadcast live on television.

The PDRC has stressed its stand on national reforms before an election, he said, adding that a new general election will be useless given voters' poor response to the Senate's advance election on Sunday.

The Constitutional Court annulled the February 2 election, compelling the EC to organise a new round of balloting nationwide.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday called on Yingluck and Suthep to hold talks on national reform live on TV.

The live broadcast would create confidence among the people and prevent the spread of rumours that cause both sides to attack each other.

Abhisit was speaking to the Senate committee on political development and public participation in politics. The committee had invited Abhisit to express his opinion on political reform.

Abhisit admitted that certain reforms could not be completed before an election because they would require charter amendments to implement them.

As a result, he said a public referendum should be held on whether the people wanted reforms so that politicians would have to commit themselves to carrying out reforms after the election.

"The most difficult thing about reforms is to find the starting point, as both sides are squabbling over whether the reforms should be introduced before or after the next election," Abhisit said.

"Each side refuses to accept the other's reasons. So, I think we must follow a middle path. We must carry out urgent things first because it is impossible to complete all reform issues fast. For example, decentralisation cannot be done in one or two years. And if an election is held now, no one will believe that it will lead to reform."

Nuttawut said he would reveal a list of PDRC supporters today to prove that they would benefit if the current government was removed. The list would include names of potential ministers or members of the PDRC who would form the appointed government as suggested by Suthep.

"Our standpoint is clear. We will not accept coups of any form and an unlawful PM. If the situation reaches that point, we will come out to fight but in a democratic way,'' Nuttawut said.






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