Yingluck rejects chance to debate

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has turned down a political debate challenge from anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, but called on him to express his ideas on the proposed National Reform Council (NRC).

Ms Yingluck who is also caretaker defence minister said in Chiang Mai province yesterday that she would not join a debate with Mr Suthep, secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), as her government was only listening to opinions from concerned parties on national reform.

Mr Suthep challenged the prime minister on Wednesday night to a debate via the TV Pool network to discuss comparisons between her proposed NRC and his people's council.

According to Ms Yingluck, 11 top military officers, state officers, academics, private sector representatives, and experts, will set conditions to nominate 2,000 representatives from all professions and these 2,000 nominees will then elect 499 councillors from among themselves.

Meanwhile, Mr Suthep proposed 400 people's council members. Of them 300 are representatives of professions and 100 are nominated by the PDRC itself.

Mr Yingluck recommended that Mr Suthep air his opinions in the NRC.

Ms Yingluck denied Mr Suthep's assertion that the 11-member committee that will work out the organisation of the NRC would be under the influence of her elder brother and deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. She said the committee would only design the organisation of the council and would have nothing to do with the election of its councillors.

Isara Vongkusolkit, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, yesterday urged the government to review its NRC initiative and consider solutions that the private sector had formulated from its neutral forums for the sake of true national reconciliation.

He pointed out that many parties including people's organisations did not respond to the NRC idea, so it was unlikely to solve national conflicts in either the short or long term.

Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, former president of the National Institute of Development Administration, said yesterday that the NRC proposal from Ms Yingluck was questionable because the proposer was unreliable as she has never come up with such an idea before.

She came up with the idea after the PDRC recommended a people's council, he said.

According to Mr Sombat, her government's previous initiative to set up a national reform forum with veteran politician Banharn Silpa-archa as its head proved to be a publicity stunt and any reforms from the proposed NRC to solve the country's problems would not be realised unless they served the aspirations of the Pheu Thai Party.

Mr Sombat said the people's council which the PDRC had proposed under Section 7 of the constitution would have legislative authority. This would guarantee that any solutions formulated would be implemented.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 27/12/2013 at 05:03 PM
THE DEBATE: Question 1. What are the colors of the national flag of Sydney? 2. How many provinces does Thailand have, including Hat Yai? and so on..
Discussion 2 : 27/12/2013 at 12:59 PM
Er Stevey she has been in caretaker mode for 2 years , taking care of big brothers interests,
Discussion 3 : 27/12/2013 at 11:04 AM
You'll never know unless you allow for democracy to work. The counsel has spoken for "All the people." So says its head. Clear the streets and return to democracy and we can find out if 2,000 people can be counted on to speak for all of Thailand?
Discussion 4 : 27/12/2013 at 10:57 AM
I would rather attribute her refusal to a lack of self-confidence in debating...
Discussion 5 : 27/12/2013 at 09:59 AM
i am glad that pm yingluck has chosen not to lower her standards by a debate with mr suthep. she has bent over backwards to appease this man, and enough is enough! thanks to mr suthep the prime ministers popularity has soared since suthep and his mob have taken to the streets of bangkok. she should be grateful to him for that concession!
Discussion 6 : 27/12/2013 at 09:45 AM
"as her government was only listening to opinions from concerned parties on national reform". Yes , That about sums it all up/
Discussion 7 : 27/12/2013 at 08:55 AM
Absolutely the right decision by Yingluck. Don't bow to these anarchists. If Suterp has something to present, do that at a proper forum. A debate is just another way to harass; knowing the brute & irrational style of Suterp.
Discussion 8 : 27/12/2013 at 08:51 AM
Suthep will have a better chance at trying to debate with Thaksin via Skype.
Discussion 9 : 27/12/2013 at 08:43 AM
Her proposed NRC will be just like the ones in the past. Totally biased and producing questionable results.
Discussion 10 : 27/12/2013 at 07:04 AM
Yingluck needs to show us she can debate. She should offer to debate Abhisit as leader of the opposition, Suthep's a quasi-terrorist, let him debate with Thaksin. The trouble with forming the 'council' is a) one side cannot expect to appoint them unilaterally as Suthep wants b) the other side is very likely going to fiddle the composition through 'financial influence' any time you defer to any sort of election process. From the 2,000 nominations, give each party the power to veto a few 'bad apples', vet the remaining qualifications, then draw 499 names from a hat. That would mean random selection from a people's representation, no bias.
Discussion 11 : 27/12/2013 at 06:53 AM
"Yingluck, 11 top military officers, state officers, academics, private sector representatives, and experts, will set conditions to nominate 2,000 representatives from all professions and these 2,000 nominees... " wonder if there will be anyone that has been fighting from the street.. or maybe a cabbie.. or a street vendor.. how about a sex trade worker.... any comments from them...
Discussion 12 : 27/12/2013 at 05:43 AM
It is good to hear the views of various stakeholders of Thai society, including those from academics. With numerous universities and thousands of academics, it is puzzling that Bangkokpost keeps airing the views of Nida - a university which is ranked lower than some "up-country" universities. Those "academics" that regularly gets quoted are also well known for their incoherent and rabidly anti-democratic political views. Not surprising because people like Sombat are core PAD members.
Discussion 13 : 27/12/2013 at 05:06 AM
Yingluck has been exposed of her qualification as a Defense Minister and Prime Minister of Thailand
Discussion 14 : 27/12/2013 at 03:47 AM
Of course the caretaker PM would refuse to debate, she is not making the decisions therefore could not answer unscripted questions.

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