Red shirts reject latest offer for a dissolution

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

By Pradit Ruangdit, Anucha Charoenpo and Wassana Nanuam
Bangkok Post

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship has rejected the government's latest offer to dissolve the House in six months.

Interior Minister and Bhumjaithai Party leader Chavarat Charnvirakul said yesterday the new proposal to end the political crisis was reached in talks between leaders and supporters of the coalition parties on Sunday.

Banharn Silpa-archa, chief adviser to the Chart Thai Pattana Party, was assigned to convey the decision to the UDD. The veteran Suphan Buri politician contacted UDD chairman Veera Musikhapong yesterday but a request for negotiations was turned down, Mr Chavarat said.

Other UDD leaders, including Jatuporn Prompan and Weng Tojirakarn, demanded an immediate parliament dissolution and quick elections by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva instead of a longer time frame offered by the coalition government.

"All we want is for Mr Abhisit to dissolve the House and call new general elections urgently," Mr Jatuporn, a Puea Thai Party MP, said.

Dr Weng said the immediate solution was to dissolve the parliament. "I guarantee all red shirts will return home if Mr Abhisit dissolves the House," he said.

The UDD will not hold further talks with the government to seek ways to put an end to the conflict.

Mr Abhisit and UDD leaders held two rounds of talks last month but were unable to reach any agreements as supporters of convicted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra had rejected the government's first offer of a dissolution in nine months.

Mr Abhisit said yesterday in a televised address the dissolution option was still available for discussion with the red shirts and his proposal in March had been revised to find a political solution.

But the prime minister did not abandon other plans to end the demonstration at Phan Fa Bridge and Ratchaprasong intersection.

Mr Abhisit said the government considered armed assailants attacking security forces on Saturday night to be "terrorists". The government would move to separate the "terrorists" from innocent demonstrators.

At a news conference at the 11th Infantry Regiment, the prime minister said all relevant government agencies will work on anti-terrorist measures.

"We want to call for all innocent people not to join the movement or become a tool of the movement," Mr Abhisit said.

Once the "terrorists" are clearly separated from innocent people, the government will be able to map out appropriate measures to end the unrest, he said.

Army chief Anupong Paojinda said he favoured a political solution instead of military means to end the confrontation, adding political problems could only be resolved by political means.


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