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Mixed reactions to mediation bid

The Caretaker government's coalition partners and other organisations and groups gave a mixed response to the attempt by seven independent agencies under the Constitution to present a road map and attempt to mediate between both sides of the political divide.

The agencies will outline their plans at a press conference on Monday.

Sansak Charoon-ngampichet, a key member of the Palang Chon Party, said while the initiative is better than doing nothing, he still thinks these organisations are not really impartial and lack the influence to compel both sides of the political conflict to truly listen.

The seven organisations include the Election Commission (EC), the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Constitutional Court and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC).

Sources in other coalition partners said the prevalent view is that the role proposed by these seven organisations is inappropriate, adding they would be doing something beyond what they are allowed by the Constitution. There are also concerns as to how playing such role would affect the work of these independent organisations in the future.

Wannarat Channukoon, leader of the Chart Pattana Party, as well as caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra refused to give any reaction to the move.

Pheu Thai deputy spokesperson Anusorn Iamsaard said he wants these organisations to clarify seven points first. These points include whether these organisations think they have performed their duty impartially and whether they are earnest in making the proposal.

Anusorn also said the seven organisations should ask themselves if the way they carry out their duties is partly to blame for creating the current crisis and fanning the conflict.

Green Politics Group leader and co-leader of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) Suriyasai Katasila, said he does not support the move and warned that pro-government red shirts may not accept the role of these organisations as they view them as biased. He said the organisations should simply announce tomorrow their intention to carry out their duties impartially.

Suriyasai also warned Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn to stop playing the role of mediator as he stands to fail and it would be a stain on his reputation. He said the PDRC is ready to negotiate but only with a live telecast.

Election Commissioner Somchai, meanwhile, defended his intention, saying Thailand cannot break the impasse without negotiations. Somchai urged all sides to first listen to what the organisations will have to say tomorrow [Monday].

"Thai society can't move forward without negotiation and it is hard to find a mediator acceptable to all sides to do the job. Thais want to see the country being able to move forward," he said, adding that while the Office of the Attorney-General is pulling out due to concerns over conflict of interest, other agencies want to join in.

Deputy Democrat Party leader Ongart Klampaiboon said he supports the initiative and the party is willing to listen to the proposals. He urged the Yingluck administration to fully support the work of these organisations in scrutinising and acting as a checks and balances mechanism of the executive branch.

Democrat Party spokesperson Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said the best way out is for all sides to respect the law and the checks and balances system. "As long as [these organisations] are being harassed, I don't think there will be any proposals that the Pheu Thai Party would accept," he said.

General Ekachai Srivilas, director of the Office of Peace and Governance at King Prajadhipok's Institute, said the best way out is for all proposed reforms to be combined and used as a road map for reform.


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