Pheu Thai party to step back from amnesty bill

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BANGKOK, Nov 6 – The ruling Pheu Thai Party and its coalition parties are ready to take a step backward by leaving it to the Senate’s decision, according to Pheu Thai Party Secretary General Phumtham Wechayachai.

Mr Phumtham said the coalition parties are willing to discuss with the people who have differing views over the bill. He stated that the move should not be seen as losing face.

The party would leave the bill to the Senate’s consideration and would accept the Upper House’s decision whether it rejects the bill on its first reading or accepts it for further consideration, he said.

However, he did not confirm whether or not the House of Representatives would reaffirm the bill 180 days later if it is rejected by the Senate.

Mr Phumtham said his party would move forward to clarify the objectives of the bill which aimed to ease conflict and achieve reconciliation. He added that the party was ready to listen to public opinion.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, earlier in the day, said on nationally televised address that the government would accept the Senate’s decision on the amnesty bill.

The opposition Democrat Party leading a mass demonstration at Democracy Monument last night reacted with skepticism at the stances of both the prime minister and her ruling party.

Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban, a protest leader, told the crowd at Ratchadamnoen Avenue occupied by the anti-bill protesters for two days on Tuesday evening that the protest will not end unless the Pheu Thai-led government drops the bill.