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Thaksin 'urges Yingluck to stay' as Prayuth demurs

Caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra almost gave in to resignation demands by the anti-government protesters on Sunday - but changed her mind at the last minute as her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, called to ask her to stay on and push for the February 2 election, sources said.

In a phone conversation with Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha a day before the protesters' Bangkok shutdown began, Yingluck told the commander she was tired of the political tension and asked for his recommendation.

Prayuth declined to offer suggestions and said it was her call to make any decision. If anything untoward happened, it would be the prime minister's responsibility, he said.

Yingluck told Prayuth she would give an answer by 4pm Sunday. Many expected she would announce her resignation, the source said.

Yingluck later called a meeting with Pheu Thai Party executives and talked via Skype with Thaksin, who said the Constitution did not allow her to resign, according to the sources.

If she did resign, the protesters would ask the court to rule that she had violated the Penal Code's Article 157, which punishes officials who abandon their duty. She would face a jail term, he warned.

Separately, Army chief Prayuth told his subordinates to prevent violence during the anti-government protest.

To protect themselves from being attacked by unknown parties, soldiers should dress in plain clothes while guarding the many buildings of government agencies and their command posts, according to a source.

The military has deployed troops to act as security guards to many government agency buildings such as the Prime Minister's Office and the Government Complex, as well as protest sites.


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