PM urges military to mediate talks with protest leaders

Embattled caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today called on the military to mediate talks with protestors to find a way to end the ongoing political conflict. She insisted to stay on as caretaker prime minister to push ahead the February 2 election and pave the way for national reform.

Ms Yingluck said her government is ready for dialogue with the protesters of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which plans to paralyze Bangkok by occupying several major roads and intersections in the capital from January 13 onward.

She said the government is willing to give any support to the military if it can mediate talks between the government and the protesters.

She reiterated that a national reform must be done in parallel with a general election, rejecting the PDRC’s call for a national reform before a poll.

Yingluck said her government supports a national reform but said a reform process will take years, so it cannot be carried out before the next general election, which is scheduled on February 2.

She said the military’s main duty is to protect the country but given the current situation it could also play a role as a mediator. The government is ready to support any party that can help start dialogue with protesters, she said.

She insisted that she will not resign from her position as the caretaker prime minister, saying that she is obliged to stay in power.

She said she could be prosecuted for negligence of duty, if she stepped down. Touching on the PDRC’s ‘Bangkok Shutdown’ plan next Monday, Yingluck said her government will mobilize a combined force of 18,000 police and soldiers to ensure order in the capital, especially at important public places. She said she will closely monitor the situation.

Meanwhile, National Police Chief Police General Adul Saengsingkaew said he is worried that a third party might use the PDRC’s ‘Bangkok Shutdown’ plan to instigate violence in the capital. He said police will use its lesson on December 26 clash between anti-government protesters and police to prevent any violence next week.