PM's willingness to talk with Suthep is good: EC member

national March 01, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's expression of willingness to hold talks with protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban was a good sign, Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said yesterday.

But he said greater effort would need to be made to find a format for talks that are acceptable to both sides.
Suthep, secretary-general of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, has challenged the PM to a one-on-one talk, but Yingluck replied that any such negotiations must be based on constitutional rules.
Somchai said he believed there would be efforts to expand the scope of the talks by inviting more people to become involved and discuss a framework for the negotiations.
However, Somchai pointed out that both sides must prove their sincerity for holding talks by telling their supporters to stop using violence.
“They must stop their sides from causing violence, but so far there is no such a sign,” he said.
The EC commissioner said he believed the violence was caused by certain groups who do not want to see negotiations.
Meanwhile, Somchai expressed confidence that balloting to complete the national election in five provinces tomorrow would be held smoothly.
The EC is organising polling in Phetchaburi, Rayong, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon and Phetchabun.
Somchai said preparations for the polls had gone well and there had been no opposition.
Officials to man the polling stations had been recruited and problems had not been encountered in terms of venues or equipping them with the necessary tools.
The EC has also received full support from security agencies and the Interior Ministry for the holding of the balloting, he said.

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