Red Shirts: Election, national reform should run in parallel

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BANGKOK, Dec 18 – The pro-government Red Shirt movement, the United Front Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), agree with the country’s reform in parallel with the February 2 general election, a key leader said on Wednesday.

UDD leader Natthawut Saikua announced the stance as he and other Red Shirt leaders attended today’s forum to find way out of the country’s crisis with seven private organisations including the Board of Trade of Thailand, the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Bankers’ Association, the Tourism Council of Thailand, the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organizations, the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Thai Listed Companies Association.

He said the UDD has proposed that the February 2 general election must be held, while the country’s reform will be carried out in parallel during the election. In the post-election period, all political parties must ratify that they would join the country’s reform.

Mr Natthawut said the UDD approach is more possible than that of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leaders who insisted that the country’s reform should be complete before the

election is held.

The Red Shirt leader also pledged that he would not mobilise UDD supporters to obstruct the planned mass demonstration of the anti-government group on Sunday.

He warned that if the election is aborted, Red Shirt supporters will come out against the move.

Thai Chamber of Commerce vice president Vichai Assarasakorn, as spokesman of the seven private organisations, admitted that business sector is worried by possible violence during the Sunday’s planned

mass protest.

He said the private organisations will discuss again after collecting opinions and information from all concerned parties including the PDRC, UDD, the government and professional councils, before officially

announcing its stance on the country’s situation.