Suthep outlines Thailand’s political future to media


BANGKOK, Dec 13 – Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban stood firm today that Thailand’s next general election will not be held unless political reform takes place first.

The government dissolved the Lower House on Sunday and set a snap poll for February 2.

In his meeting with the media today, Mr Suthep said the door will be widely open for the Thai people to give their opinions on the selection of members for the people’s council after which the  People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) will screen qualified members.

He said the PDRC will open a forum at Thammasat University tomorrow to listen to people’s points of view while 20 PDRC representatives will meet with the chiefs of the police and armed forces on the same day.

Mr Suthep is secretary general of the PDRC, an ad hoc anti-government grouping in which several factions have joined together with the same goal.

The protest leader insisted that the Yingluck Shinawatra government has been illegitimate since it issued a bill in the interest of a single person, ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was sentenced to two years in jail on corruption charges.

He said the government has tried to use its majority votes in Parliament to silence opponents and ram through a charter amendment without listening to the people.

“Thailand has neither the House of Representatives nor a government. The people must stand up to reclaim their power in a peaceful and non-violent manner. We are entitled by the Constitution to do so,” he said.

He called on Ms Yingluck and the caretaker cabinet to relinquish their posts to pave the way for a political vacuum after which the Constitution will be strictly followed for a smooth transition.

If they refuse to do so, people will continue their attempt to seize power until they are successful and exercise their power to set up a people’s council, he said.

He said the council will amend the Election Law for justice and fairness, draft stronger legislation to counter corruption, to decentralise administrative power and restructure the police system.

Mr Suthep said the people’s council will work as quickly as possible, at least eight months or longer, and return the power to the people so that an election is held.

He said the people’s council will comprise people from all professions and selected scholars.