The Nation



Political parties should take a step back, senators say

Political parties should take a step back and stop being stubborn so the country can find a way out of the current crisis and get talks underway to resolve the conflict, a group of senators for peace and democracy said yesterday.

Meanwhile, more than a dozen medical societies called for the setting up of a political reform body before the election, saying that corruption must be addressed.

Buri Ram Senator Taweesak Kitbanjong, who led the group, said all sides should step back and seek resolutions about the election that satisfy all sides.

To make the upcoming snap election invalid without legal amendments or violation of the election executive decree, he proposed that all parties agree not send candidates for a ballot on 2 February 2014. But once all sides come up with resolutions they would be able to set a new election date with acceptable regulations.

In the meantime, 16 medical societies also convened on Saturday and came up with four resolutions to resolve the political conflict. They said that in the short-term, the regulation of elections must be revised as soon as possible in a bid to create a fair and clean poll. For the long-term, Thailand needed to establish a system to reform politics.

A mechanism to monitor corruption was needed, they said. And a political and national reform body must be set up before the election. Laws relating to regulation of the Prime Minister's Office, or executive decrees, must endorse this organisation.

All political parties must give a commitment that they will dissolve parliament and organise a new election under the new regulation after political reforms.

Legislative and administrative procedures in the future must be in accordance with resolutions from the political reforms.

The medical workers society also agreed to set up a mechanism to monitor and follow up on reforms in a bid to make sure they are achieved and comply with public resolutions. A mechanism to monitor good governance was also needed. In a bid to create a fair and clean election, health volunteers would dedicate themselves to monitor any irregularities in the election.

For the Public Health Ministry, the medical society will create a mechanism to monitor the good governance in management of its budget and human resources.

Meanwhile, another network of 343 medical workers from four medical education institutes including Chulalongkorn, Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen universities, and Ramathibodi issued a statement calling for the caretaker prime minister and caretaker government to reform the country and eliminate corruption. Moves to decentralise and reduce social inequality were also needed. All of these moves must be adopted before the election, they said.

They also wanted the caretaker PM and Cabinet to resign from the interim government in a bid to make the reform process more neutral. A new caretaker PM and government would come from all stakeholders to draft a bill to reform the country. Political parties would not be allowed to join this new interim government.

After a reform law is enforced, a new election must be set up under new regulations. All political parties must give their commitment to people that they will follow these reforms and try to develop the country without corruption.

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