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Suthep refuses to compromise, red shirts want referendum

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said he will reaffirm his call for an interim government and political reforms during the second round of seven partite meeting scheduled for 2pm on Thursday.

Suthep held a meeting with provincial leaders of the People's Democratic Reform Committee at the PDRC rally stage near the Democracy Monument at 11 Thursday morning,

The meeting resolved to have Suthep inform the meeting that a non-partisan prime minister must be appointed to carry out reforms.

During the first round of discussions hosted by Army Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha on Wednesday, representatives of the seven sides were asked to go back to consult with their followers as to the issues on which they could compromise and report back to the second round of meeting Thursday.

While Suthep refused to back down from his original stand, the red-shirts appeared to more willing to compromise by proposing a referendum.

Red-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan said he would propose during the second meeting that a national referendum be held to end the political impasse.

Jatuporn, chairman of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship, said UDD leaders have reviewed their stand and believe that a referendum would be the best way out.

Jatuporn said the UDD leaders felt that an election could be held right away thus the public should be asked through a referendum whether they wanted to elect a new government before or after political reforms.

The red-shirt movement would respect the referendum's results, he said.

Meanwhile, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva will raise three proposals during the second meeting, Democrat Party spokesman Chavanon Intharakomalsut said.

Chavanon said Abhisit would propose an end to all kinds of violence and the drawing up of a blueprint for carrying out political reforms before and after the next election. Abhisit would also propose that a system be put in place to guarantee that the next election is clean and fair.

The spokesman added that Abhisit would also call on all stakeholders in the conflict to sacrifice their interests so that the impasse could come to an end.

Abhisit would also call on the caretaker government to resign so that the reform and election could take place, Chavanon said.

Election Commission Chairman Supachai Somcharoen said on Thursday that he welcomed the Army Chief's role as a mediator and in organising the talks.

Supachai said the EC would participate in the second round of talks.

He said he agreed with Prayuth's statement that the new election must not lead to violence and loss of lives.

The EC chairman said it would be up to the meeting whether to have the EC organise an election or a referendum on the political disputes.

After all sides reached an agreement, the EC would be ready to organise the new election, Supachai said.


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