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Thai PM may dissolve Parliament

Thailand's PM he would dissolve Parliament in September but only if they end their crippling occupation of Bangkok's commercial district.

Written by Associated Press | Bangkok |
May 6, 2010 10:40:25 am

Thailand’s prime minister said Thursday he would dissolve Parliament in September – meeting a key demand of anti-government protesters – but only if they end their crippling occupation of Bangkok’s commercial district.

Following the unveiling of a roadmap to reconciliation Monday,protest leaders demanded Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva specify a date for Parliament’s dissolution before they pulled out of their barricaded encampment in the heart of the Thai capital.

The political haggling has prolonged Thailand’s nearly two-month-long crisis which has paralyzed vital areas of Bangkok,hammered the economy and ground government machinery to a near-halt. Clashes with soldiers and other violence have killed 27 people and injured nearly 1,000.

“If they don’t go home,I’m not going to dissolve Parliament,” Abhisit said in a live interview on ASTV. Other Thai media quoted Abhisit as saying the dissolution could take place Sept. 15 to 30.

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“I repeat,I am not negotiating with anybody,” Abhisit said in the interview,adding that he was inviting everyone into a reconciliation process,”including the protesters.”

He noted that the protest leaders had earlier welcomed his reconciliation plan which includes an offer of new elections on November 14 – about a year before Abhisit’s term would end – if the Red Shirts stop their protests.

The timing of the dissolution has been a crucial issue,and the Red Shirts rejected Abhisit’s earlier offer to dissolve Parliament by the end of the year. Abhisit has said he wants enough time in office to pass a national budget for next year.


But both sides want to be in control when a key reshuffle of top military posts occurs in September.

Abhisit said his five-point plan takes into account the protesters’ main grievances. It includes respect for the monarchy,reforms to resolve economic injustice,free but responsible media to be overseen by an independent watchdog agency,independent investigations of violent incidents connected with the protests,and amendment of the constitution to be more fair to all political parties.

The Red Shirt demonstrators include supporters of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a 2006 military coup following accusations of corruption and abuse of power. The protesters say Abhisit took power illigitimately through back-room deals and military pressure on legislators.


On Wednesday,Thais put aside their political animosity to honor the country’s ailing monarch on the 60th anniversary of his coronation,and his rare public appearance inspired thousands lining the streets to chant “Long Live the King!”

The highly revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej emerged in a wheelchair from a Bangkok hospital to preside over the ceremonies. The 82-year-old king,the world’s longest reigning monarch,has been hospitalized for the past nine months with what the palace initially described as a lung inflammation.

The monarch made no comment on the political stalemate. Many Thais had hoped that the king,who ascended the throne in 1946 but was officially crowned on May 5,1950,might broker a peaceful solution to the crisis,as he did in 1973 when he stopped bloodshed during a student uprising and again in 1992 during antimilitary street protests.

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First published on: 06-05-2010 at 10:40:25 am

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