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Parties to discuss 'inevitable reform', how to achieve it

NATIONAL REFORM is inevitable, but all sides involved must reach an agreement as to how and when it should be organised in order to allow the country to move forward, said Somsak Prisananantakul, a key member of the coalition Chartthaipattana Party.

He said all the parties should sign an agreement that whichever coalition gets to set up the next House of Representatives, they must be in power for no longer than a year and a half. The new House should propose a blueprint for national reform before dissolving to hold another election, he said.

Somsak was speaking before discussing with 53 other parties - including Pheu Thai - about the stance they should take toward the nullification of the February 2 election. He said the parties would also discuss a new election system, but not touch on the government.

The meeting is scheduled for tomorrow at the Royal Police Cadet Academy.

"We want a reform when the charter has not been torn up [following a military coup]. All sides agree that we need reform, otherwise we cannot move on," he said.

The opposition Democrat Party has urged caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to come forward with a telecast live statement on national reform as a way to compromise.

Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intara-komalyasut said if Yingluck continued to refuse to hold a live debate with anti-government protest chief Suthep Thaugsuban, the Democrats would like to hear her ideas about reforming the country.

He added that Yingluck must also comply with the National Anti-Corruption Commis-sion's decision on whether to indict her over her alleged failure to stop losses from the rice-pledging scheme. Yingluck yesterday called on all sides involved not to cause further damage to the country, and instead help ensure political stability for improved economic progress.

In her latest Facebook message, she said, "Political stability, democracy and uninterrupted government terms in office are very important to the country's economic progress, particularly in dimensions that we have to connect with foreign countries.

"It is difficult to regain lost opportunities. So all the sides involved have to stop the country's continuing loss of opportunities and any further damage. We should go back to the democratic system and process as soon as possible."

Yingluck said that she met with the new Indian ambassador earlier yesterday, adding that they discussed bilateral trade and cooperation over the past two years. She said the domestic political conflict had delayed a free-trade agreement between Thailand and India.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai Party urged the Democrats to take part in a new election after the Constitutional Court nullified the previous one. Chavanond replied: "We do not want to be used as a tool to whitewash corruption or allow politicians to use elections to whitewash wrongdoings."

Pheu Thai deputy secretary-general Chavalit Vichayasuth called on the Election Commission (EC) to replace commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn after he admitted he is not politically neutral.

Chavalit said the EC members have taken an oath to carry out their duty with honesty. He said the EC must replace Somchai, who oversees election management, to maintain the integrity of the EC. He also urged the EC to hold a new election so that people can decide their future.




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