Ahead of fresh protest, Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra says open to new elections

Thai authorities braced for showdown, even as beleaguered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced she will not cling to power and is open to new elections.

PTI| Updated: Dec 07, 2013, 22:42 PM IST

Bangkok: Thai authorities on Saturday braced for a showdown with protesters who have vowed to make a final push to oust the government on Monday, even as beleaguered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced she will not cling to power and is open to new elections.
Officials said hundreds of policemen will be deployed to protect key state buildings on December 9, which protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has declared as the "D-Day" to seize power from the premier.

Prime Minister Yingluck today said she is open to new elections. "We don`t have any resistance about resigning or dissolving Parliament," she said in an interview with foreign journalists.

She also said she sees no quick end to the political impasse and is willing to negotiate with protesters to end the crisis. "Our door is still open," Yingluck said.

Suthep said the premier`s resignation would not be enough to end the crisis. He also rejected any new election, saying the opposition would likely be soundly defeated.

Various incarnations of Yingluck`s party, which enjoys massive support among poor and rural voters, have won every election held since 2001.

Suthep yesterday announced the fresh move against the government after two days of relative calm in Bangkok because of revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej`s 86th birthday celebrations.

The Democrat party MP, who has been leading mass protests for the past few weeks, declared last night that demonstrators would "blow the final whistle" on Monday in an attempt to topple the "Thaksin Regime" and what he alleged was the corrupt and illegitimate government of Yingluck.

Police security will be buffered in areas where the Internal Security Act (ISA) is in place, National Security Council secretary general Paradorn Pattanatabut said.

The ISA would allow authorities to impose curfews, set up roadblocks and restrict the movement of demonstrators.

"More police will be deployed, especially at government offices," Lt Gen Paradorn said.

Suthep, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued on a charge of sedition, said he will lead the protesters to the Government House on Monday but not storm the complex with the intention of occupying it.

"I will accept the results of the December 9 battle. If we don`t win, I will turn myself in to face the charge," the firebrand protest leader and former deputy premier told cheering crowds.