Thai Election Commission hails govt, anti-govt negotiations to end political impasse


BANGKOK, Feb 28 – Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) today welcomed a move for dialogue between the two main conflicting parties in Thailand’s four-month political impasse.

Election Commission chairman Supachai Somcharoen called on caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban to avoid setting preconditions – a major factor that could jeopardise negotiations.

EC member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said both sides should discourage their supporters from violent activities and to pave the way for talks.

It’s not unusual that the two sides set conditions and framework prior to a dialogue, he said, adding that they would possibly assign higher-level persons to join the second round of talks next week.

“I have their names but it won’t be disclosed until everything is clear,” he said.

Mr Somchai added that the EC was ready for new elections in the five provinces of Petchabun, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkram, Petchaburi and Rayong on Sunday.

Balloting results will not be announced until elections are completed nationwide, he said.

The EC is seeking the Constitution Court’s ruling on whether the government would have to issue a royal decree to call for new elections in 28 pending constituencies in eight southern provinces, which were disrupted by opponents during the Feb 2 general election.

Akanat Promphan, spokesman of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), insisted the negotiation between Ms Yingluck and Mr Suthep must be held on a one-on-one basis before the public.

He said the premier was insincere in setting a condition that the PDRC rallies must be called off before a dialogue, to be participated by many people, is held.

He said Ms Yingluck was not acting for the national interest but for her own agenda, adding that Mr Suthep did not ask her to resign before the negotiation but only wanted it to be an open session.