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Govt willing to wait on Constitution and unity bills, Thaksin says

Fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra has told Isra News Agency that his younger sister's government would not rush to enact the charter-amendment or national-reconciliation bills.

Thaksin also said the Yingluck government has been doing a good job over the past year, adding that Yingluck is expected to do well during the upcoming censure in Parliament.

"Just keep the third reading of the Constitution amendment [as it is] until we can think of the best way to create peace in the country and bring about full democracy. Sometimes we want a full democracy right away, but we can't have it. We have to accept just part of it first and let it grow until it’s full," Thaksin said.

The website www.isranews.org of Isra News Agency published an interview with the fugitive former premier conducted during his trip to visit businessmen in San Francisco on Thursday.

"About the reconciliation bill, should we withdraw it? Why should we? We'll just leave it like that, so they [the Opposition] keep an eye on it day and night. If they lose concentration, we vote - so they have to be diligent. They don’t have much work to do, do they? In short, there will be no withdrawal. But as for whether we will push for it; we'll take it easy. We are not in a hurry," Thaksin told the news agency's "special" reporter.

When asked if he wanted to go home, he said "I miss home, but I’m used to it today. I bought a plane for two years but flew it only about 1,000 hours. I spend a lot of my time on the plane. Later this year I might drop by Myanmar, near Chiang Rai, so I can 'U Kam Muang' [speak Northern dialect] around there," Thaksin said, laughing.

He said Yingluck was considering a Cabinet reshuffle, adding that this is normal. He said some of the 111 former Thai Rak Thai Party executives would be given ministerial posts, but he declined to say who or when.

Thaksin said he is not worried about the government's work, but suggested the government should invest more and promote new markets for agricultural products, especially in Asia.

On the problem of high consumer-goods prices, Thaksin said it was seasonal for some products. However, the government should eradicate the problems caused by price speculation and monopolies, he said.

"As for the fighting of the red shirts, I think so far, what they are doing nowadays [has been] good. They should keep getting together and stick to democratic ideology and justice. The truth will come finally. Actually, it has come out, but a few people just don’t understand. Some people understand but don’t want to lose face, so they cannot accept the truth. They might need time to study and adjust their minds," Thaksin said.

Thaksin said he believed Thailand is heading towards democracy and would not retreat. As long as the people remain as politically alert as they are now, staging a military coup would need huge courage, he said.

On the problem of violence in the South, he rejected criticism that the government had failed to tackle the problem at its root, saying the situation would improve with time.

"Listen, about the restive South, we have to understand that Ramadan [the Islamic holy month] is a period when the situation is especially severe. If we compare the period each year, we will see this year’s is not more severe than in past years. But it has been peaceful this year, and began to get severe in Ramadan. That’s why the fasting period is a violent period. Ramadan will end soon, then the situation would return to normal," Thaksin said.

He said the flood problems last year were the result of human error. The previous government did not pay attention to the flood problem, while permanent government officials mistakenly expected drought, he said. However, the current government now had the benefit of experience, so if the rains are as heavy as last year's, the problem should be less severe, Thaksin said.


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