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Temporary sigh of relief for Thai PM

Publication Date : 29-11-2013

 

The Pheu Thai-led Thai government has cleared a political hurdle, with embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra surviving a no-confidence vote in Parliament. But the relief will be short-lived.

Yingluck now has more cards to play: she can now call a House dissolution or resign to break the political impasse. The attempt mounted before the no-confidence vote to pave the way for a non-democratic system appears to be fading.

However, anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has made it clear that the protest's ultimate goal is the downfall of the "Thaksin regime" and its replacement with a "people's council".

He has insisted that a House dissolution or a resignation would not be sufficient.

Suthep yesterday explained that some laws need to be amended to change the country into a true democracy under a constitutional monarchy.

Some key figures have urged the government and the opposition to step back and hold talks quietly for the sake of the country. If the two sides agree unanimously that it is necessary to reform the country, they should take heed of these figures.

If talks are actually held, a possible proposal could be the formation of a national unity government. This government, which could be either elected or non-elected, would perform the duty of administering the country while a committee is set up to work out reforms for the country. If the option of a non-elected government was to be pursued, laws would need to be changed to make this possible, however.

"This could be a real reset to zero for the country," a political observer said.

Another option would be for Yingluck to call for a general election, with the anti-government group forming an alternative party.

A source from the anti-government protest, who asked not to be named, said this option was welcomed by some of the protesters as it is within the law.

"Currently, around 30 per cent of voters are non-partisan, favouring neither the Pheu Thai Party nor the Democrat Party. A new party could be an alternative to catch these votes," the source said.

However, judging from Yingluck's national address yesterday, she will likely stay and fight her opponents. Early in the morning, she told reporters that a House dissolution would not be her choice. She also responded for the first time to Suthep's proposed "People's Council", saying it was not possible under the law.

So, the political impasse remains.

 

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