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Reports that Thaksin asked PM to take a break denied

Noppadon Pattama, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's legal adviser, has dismissed as groundless reports that Thaksin ordered caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra to take a year's break from politics to pave the way for political negotiations.

Noppadon said he had checked with Thaksin, who denied the reports. The adviser said there had not yet been any discussion over whether Yingluck would run in the new election or be fielded as Pheu Thai's No 1 party-list candidate. It is not the time to discuss the matter, because a Royal Decree to call a general election has not been promulgated, he said.

Noppadon said Yingluck had not done anything wrong. She was pressured into dissolving the House of Representatives but has vowed to continue working as caretaker PM to protect the democratic system, he said.

Sources said after the Constitutional Court nullified the February 2 election - and in light of the possibility that Yingluck could be indicted by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) over her alleged failure to stop losses from the rice-pledging scheme - Thaksin had decided that she should take a step back and not contest the election as the party's top candidate.

The sources said caretaker Deputy PM Phongthep Thepkanjana would take the No 1 spot instead, and that Thaksin's sister Yaowapa Wongsawat would not contest the election either.

This plan was reportedly intended to dispel criticism that the country is under the domination of the Shinawatra family.

The reported move to take a step back was also seen as an attempt to counter any possible coup.

Another reason given was to push for national reform to be achieved in one year.

Yingluck will not resign as PM until a new government is formed, according to the sources. She would hold closed-door meetings with representatives of her political rivals and the Election Commission, and would expect to reach an agreement before the NACC's decision on the rice-pledging scheme.


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