The Nation



PDRC plans to explain its stance

Says will hold several forums on need to put reforms in place before election

Both government opponents and supporters have been campaigning to mobilise people to back their demands as the country struggles to find a way out of the political impasse.

Akanat Promphan, spokesman of the People's Democratic Reform Committee, said the group would provide explanations to the chambers of commerce, foreign media and diplomats as to why national elections should not be held before reforms are put in place. The group will be holding forums at Chulalongkorn University today, at Ramkhamhaeng University tomorrow and at the National Institute of Development Administration on Thursday.

The PDRC will also launch more campaigns next week to push for reforms ahead of the election.

Meanwhile, permanent secretary of the Prime Minister's Office Tongthong Chandransu said the office would act as a coordinator and hold forums from today to find a way out of the political impasse.

All political groups, including the PDRC and the Democrat Party, will be invited to these forums, where short and long-term solutions for corruption and other political and economic problems will be sought both before and after the February 2 election, he said.

Tongthong added that caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra had been apprised of the plan.

Meanwhile, caretaker Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichak-chaikul, who is also leading the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order, said that nine Asean members at the grouping's meeting in Japan last week had voiced their support for Thailand to resolve its political problems in a democratic manner. He said 45 countries were also backing the caretaker government's decision to hold peaceful talks to end the political impasse.

Separately, a group comprising five health advocacy networks led by Dr Siriwat Thiptaradon yesterday called on Yingluck and her Cabinet to step down from their caretaker positions and make way for neutral parties to push the reform forward.

Otherwise, the group said, it would find ways to pressure the government out. Siriwat went on to say that so far they had gathered more than 1,000 signatures to express this stance.

Solution from P-Move

Meanwhile, People's Movement for a Just Society (P-Move) issued a statement to suggest a way out for the country, saying they backed the election to maintain democratic rule while the reforms are underway. Amporn Champathong, a leader of the Four Regions Slum Network, said P-Move had realised that it was necessary to hold a national election alongside reforms.

P-Move coordinator Krissa-korn Silarak said that since the public's opinion was divided on the issue, the procedure of finding neutral parties should be acceptable to all sides and cooperation should be promoted in Thailand as it could be a long-term solution for the ongoing conflicts. Once the Election Commission announces candidacy application dates and details next month, P-Move would coordinate with political parties to present details and guidelines for reform on a stage set up by the people's sector so that problems could be solved in a concrete manner.

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