Thai govt offers to put off Feb 2 polls

The protesters, who launched their anti-government campaign in November, have been demanding that Yingluck should step down and make way for an unelected “people’s council”.

Bangkok | Published: January 26, 2014 12:45 am

THAILAND’S embattled government Saturday said it would put off the February 2 snap polls if rivals end their protests, but a top opposition leader rebuffed the proposal and said demonstrations will continue to press for reforms.

“The election should be postponed on condition that the protesters cease their rallies and there is no blockade or boycott of election,” said Varathep Rattanakorn, an official from caretaker premier Yingluck Shinawatra’s office. “If there are still attempts to interrupt the election, there is no use in postponing it.”

Shinawatra had been informed of a decision by the Constitutional Court Friday, which unanimously ruled that the snap polls can be postponed, Varathep said.

Yingluck, who will meet the Election Commissioner on Tuesday, said the ruling seemed to have no solid legal basis. But protesters rejected the terms set by the government for postponing the polls.

“This isn’t about compromise,” protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said. “The people will never go home because what the people want is political and national reform.”

The protesters, who launched their anti-government campaign in November, have been demanding that Yingluck should step down and make way for an unelected “people’s council”.

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