BANGKOK, June 19 — Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the outgoing, ruling Democrat Party, on Sunday asked Yingluck Shinawatra, the number one party-list candidate under the Pheu Thai Party, to display leadership in ordering the anti-government ‘Red Shirt’ members to stop any movement to disturb election candidates from rival parties contesting in the election.
His remarks were made following confrontations between supporters of his party and members of anti-government protesters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) while he helped his party’s candidates campaign in Bangkok’s neighbouring province of Samut Prakan earlier in the day.
Mr Abhisit said today’s incident has forced him to cease campaigning in the area on concerns that supporters of both Democrat and Pheu Thai parties might clash again ahead of the July 3 general election.
Election campaigns for every party should be held under a fair atmosphere, Mr Abhisit said, adding that it was time to end one side following the rule while the other side was not.
Frequent harassment and intimidation of members and supporters of the Red Shirt supporters have also prompted Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, also secretary-general of the party, to urge the Election Commission (EC) to investigate these undesirable actions.
Mr Suthep said his party would not need to issue a letter to the EC requesting a probe into the matter as he believed that the election watchdog would know of such incidents through the media.
He said the EC “should play a role in solving these kinds of problems when they occurred.”
Under a democratic system, there would be no threatening rival parties, Mr Suthep said, adding there would be no mobilisation of crowds to disturb other candidates. The Democrat Party will remain patient until the evening of July 3 to promote a favorable election atmosphere.
It is undeniable that the Red Shirt supporters and Pheu Thai Party are one, said Mr Suthep.
Touching on a planned election campaign at Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong intersection this Thursday, Mr Suthep said “owners of the country should be able to receive information from every side” so that they can decide themselves which party they would vote for and not just let Pheu Thai Party twist facts for the public.
As many as 91 people were killed and more than 1,900 wounded during the March-May, 2010 clashes between security personnel and the Red Shirt protesters around Ratchaprasong intersection and nearby areas.
Meanwhile, Miss Yingluck said while campaigning for votes in Uttaradit province that UDD members have the right to free expression but it must be under the rule of law and the framework of democracy.
She insisted that Pheu Thai party was not involved.
However, every party should conduct political affairs in a constructive way and make sure the election is held with transparency and justice, she said. (MCOT online news)