Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Live: France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Deadly Israeli strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Elections could be held in November

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-03

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Monday that the country will hold elections in November if a reconciliation plan is agreed upon. Thailand has been in political turmoil since mid-March, when protesters attempted to overthrow the government.

AFP - Thailand's beleaguered premier said Monday that he was ready to hold elections in November to resolve a tense standoff with anti-government protesters who have occupied Bangkok's commercial heart.

But, speaking in a nationally televised address, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the timetable was subject to all parties agreeing to a five-point reconciliation process aimed at ending the crippling crisis.

The plan calls for respect for the monarchy, greater social equality, an impartial media, an independent probe into the current political crisis and a debate on the need for constitutional reform.

"I'm convinced that it will not take long to achieve national reconciliation and when we achieve national reconciliation the government is ready to hold elections on November 14," said Abhisit said.

"I think this is the best solution at the current time," he said.

The mostly poor or working class "Red Shirts" protesters have occupied parts of Bangkok since mid-March, defying a state of emergency in their bid to topple a government they see as elitist and undemocratic.

The movement said it would discuss Abhisit's proposal before responding.

"We may have offers for the government. We may not agree to everything," one of the protest leaders, Jatuporn Prompan, told AFP.

There have been a series of tense confrontations between the demonstrators and the security forces in Bangkok, where 27 people died and nearly 1,000 were injured in unrest last month.

The Red Shirts have reinforced roadblocks and stepped up security checks on the perimeter of their sprawling protest site, which has been fortified with barricades made from piled up truck tyres, razor wire and bamboo stakes.

Abhisit last month rejected a compromise offer by the Reds to disperse if elections were held within three months, and the protesters have reverted to their original demand for immediate polls.

In March he had offered to hold elections by the end of 2010 -- a year ahead of schedule -- to end the standoff, but protest leaders rejected the proposal.

The authorities have repeatedly said they plan to retake the protest site without disclosing when.

A failed April 10 attempt by the army to clear demonstrators from part of Bangkok's historic district sparked fierce street fighting that left 25 people dead and hundreds injured.

"The operation must end the entire problem, not cause other small problems," army spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said Monday, adding that security forces would use armoured vehicles to retake the protest site.

"The armoured vehicles will provide safety for the authorities and protesters as there are armed groups at the protests. Armoured vehicles will reduce losses for both sides."

The authorities said they had seized rifles and grenade launchers from the home of a suspected Red Shirt as part of an investigation into an apparent attempt to shoot down a military helicopter on April 10.

Many of the Red Shirts seek the return of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 coup and lives overseas to avoid a jail term for corruption.

Their campaign has caused several hotels and major stores to shutter their doors and prompted foreign governments to warn against travel to the "Land of Smiles", dealing a heavy blow to the vital tourism sector.

The movement faced heavy criticism after about 100 supporters raided a hospital Thursday, mistakenly believing it sheltered security forces preparing a crackdown.

The think-tank International Crisis Group has urged Thailand to consider mediation from outside to avoid a slide into "an undeclared civil war".
 

Date created : 2010-05-03

  • THAILAND

    Government holds emergency meeting to resolve political impasse

    Read more

  • THAILAND

    The Red Shirt revolutionary spirit

    Read more

  • THAILAND

    Thai govt talks tough as 'red shirts' step up protests

    Read more

COMMENT(S)