Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thai Protesters Consider Plan for Elections

Anti-government protesters who have camped out in the center of Bangkok for seven weeks said on Tuesday that they were seriously considering an offer by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of a “reconciliation plan” that would include elections in November.

Looking weary, the leaders of the so-called red shirt protest at first reacted positively to the offer, but then began to raise questions that suggested the possibility of internal disagreements.

The protesters, who have shut down a major commercial district in Bangkok, the capital, had been demanding that Mr. Abhisit and his Democrat-led coalition dissolve Parliament within a month in preparation for immediate elections.

Speaking shortly after Mr. Abhisit’s proposal Tuesday night, one leader, Suporn Attawong, called it “great because all of this will come to an end.”

“Everyone will be able to return home and go back to work,” Mr. Attawong said.

But on Tuesday morning, protest leaders postponed an announcement of their decision, saying they were unsure about the sincerity and unity of the government in making the offer.

“We all want this to end peacefully,” said Kwanchai Praphana, one of the leaders, in interview at the rally site. “But we are still not sure if this is the proposal from the Democrat party in its entirety and whether all the coalition partners agree.”

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/05/world/asia/05thai.html?ref=asia

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