Thai PM calls for referendum to end stand-off

Monday 09 December 2013 14.48
Yingluck Shinawatra said she will resign if it is what people want
Yingluck Shinawatra said she will resign if it is what people want

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has proposed a referendum on her future and promised to resign if that was what the people wanted.

She made the move as anti-government protesters prepared for a final push to try to force her from power.

Protesters have been on the streets of the capital for weeks, clashing with police and vowing to oust Ms Yingluck.

They want her to eradicate the influence of her self-exiled brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The leader of the protesters, Suthep Thaugsuban, a former Democrat Party deputy prime minister, has called for a final demonstration on Monday to force Ms Yingluck out.

Ms Yingluck said in a televised statement her government was searching for ways to end the conflict.

"We should conduct a referendum so that people can decide what we should do," she said.

Mr Suthep has been urging the setting up of a "people's council" of appointed "good people" to replace the government.

Ms Yingluck has dismissed the idea as unconstitutional and undemocratic. She did not spell out the specifics of any referendum but said it was in line with the constitution.

"I'm willing to listen to proposals from the protesters. I'm not addicted to this title," she said. "I'm ready to resign and dissolve parliament if that is what the majority of the Thai people want."

Mr Suthep has told his supporters they had to take back power from what he calls the illegitimate "Thaksin regime", but he told them they could not rely on the army to help.

The army, which ousted Mr Thaksin in 2006, has said it does not want to get involved though it has tried to mediate.

Keywords: thailand