The Nation



Varsities offer students as political observers

The Council of University Presidents of Thailand (CUPT) yesterday proposed bringing in students to study and observe any political reform programme that might be implemented, or the coming election, to boost their participation in Thai politics and raise their awareness.

At yesterday’s meeting, CUPT chairman Somkit Lertpaithoon repeated the council's stance on the setting up of a neutral caretaker government to oversee the reform. Although the House dissolution has been announced, he said caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's government remaining in power earned no trust from the public to take part in a reform process.

Under the proposal, all 27 universities under CUPT would assign students on a voluntary basis to observe the February 2 election at polling stations. A committee has been set up to work on this idea.

Biz groups to weigh in on political debate

Seven leading business organisations will today make another announcement on their stance over the current political impasse - mainly on whether they favour much-debated government reform or a general election on February 2.

The groups said today's announcement would be the "most precise" on their joint stance. The seven bodies are the Tourism Council of Thailand, the Thai Bankers' Association, the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organisations, the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Thai Listed Companies Association.

Both anti-government core leaders and pro-government chiefs met with members of the seven groups earlier this month. Each side had interpreted the business groups' previous statements as favouring their opposing political ideologies.

Anti-govt groups march in provinces

Government opponents marched in the provinces yesterday to show solidarity with the protesters in Bangkok.

They gathered at the Trang Provincial Hall to parade around the province.

They stepped to the beat of a tall, narrow drum and held up a 99-metre-long flag.

Saksarit Sriprasart, the leader of a rubber farmers' group, said if the rally at the main stage at Rajdamnoen Road did not end he would set up a parallel stage to pressure the caretaker prime minister to resign to make way for reform of the country.

Yala citizens gathered at a community hall to support the anti-government movement.

In Ranong, more than half of the stalls at the two biggest fresh markets were temporarily closed.

Naroumon Koraphum, chairman of the provincial chamber of commerce, said business in Ranong nowadays was very quiet because merchants have gone to Bangkok to join the protests there.

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