Thai PM sees little risk of coup, protesters appeal to Army

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 21:23

Bangkok: Embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday exuded confidence that the military would not launch another coup to topple her after the anti-government protest leader appealed to the Army to end Thailand`s deepening political crisis.

"I don`t think the military will do that again," she told reporters here. The premier said the coup-makers who ousted her older brother Thaksin Shinawatra as prime minister seven years ago realised that it "doesn`t solve any problems".

Yingluck dissolved Parliament on Monday and called for elections on February 2 in a bid to ease tensions.

Thailand has witnessed 18 actual or attempted military coups since it became a constitutional monarchy in 1932.

Thaksin`s ouster in 2006 ushered in years of political turmoil and violent protests. Dozens of his supporters were killed when the military cracked down on their rallies in 2010 under the Democrat Party-led government.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who is seeking to install an unelected People`s Council, said he wants to hold a meeting with the supreme commander, armed forces leaders and the national police chief to tell them about the stance and goals of "the masses" on national reform.

"The military and police will get a chance to ask about the PDRC`s position so they`ll be able to understand the group`s purpose better. Then they can consider which side they want to stand on," the secretary general of the People`s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) said.

Suthep, a former deputy prime minister who resigned as a Democrat Party MP last month to lead protests against the government, said the deadline for the meeting with the military leaders is 8 pm tomorrow.

"The protests, which have lasted more than 42 days, have made the public realise the power of change. It is clear that the majority of Thai people want national reform before the next general election so that the country can be legitimate and free of corruption," he said.

Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said he and his force will back solutions that can bring peace to the country.

"I will try every way to end the conflict soon and it must be accepted and well received by the people. Please understand that the Army and I don`t want to be directly implicated in politics but we will support any means to restore peace in the country," Prayuth said.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 21:23

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