PM urges all parties to create better atmosphere to end conflict

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BANGKOK, June 2 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Saturday urged all parties to use the parliamentary process for national reconciliation and consider the content of the proposed reconciliation bill before dismissing it.

The premier made these remarks in her weekly televised address following the chaos and disruption at the Thai parliament after a majority of MPs voted to move the national reconciliation bills to the top of the agenda.

Opposition Democrat party MPs opposed the bills, which they said would benefit fugitive ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra among others and help bring him home after several years of self-exile without serving his jail term.

Ms Yingluck said the proposal of the reconciliation bill was part of the government’s policy to promote reconciliation and the government believes it is appropriate to push ahead any move which can help the country move forward.

There have been many recommendations for reconciliation, and the country will have no way out of its problems if the government does nothing, said the premier.

Ms Yingluck noted the content of the bills should first be considered, as the ongoing reconciliation process is just beginning with dialogue.

The prime minister however said she has not yet seen all the details of the four proposed reconciliation bills but said she believes that all the bills share the same aim to end conflicts and move forward.

Following concerns that the bills will benefit her brother, ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, Ms Yingluck said it was too soon to talk about the result as the process has just begun and the bills’ contents still need to be discussed and adjusted through deliberation in parliament.

“I understand that it is difficult to ask everybody to forget the past but I am asking everyone to offer forgiveness in order to reduce conflict. If we do not begin with forgiveness, how can we move forward? The reconciliation process is not instantaneous; similar to the process of amending the constitution, it will take several months of deliberation in the parliament,” said the premier.

Ms Yingluck also urged lawmakers to respect the parliamentary process and asked for cooperation from all parties to go through the parliamentary mechanism, where both MPs and senators serve as representatives of Thais throughout the country.