PM offers to help end political crisis

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Thursday she is ready to cooperate and support efforts to help end the political crisis.

The comments come as several parties attempt to broker talks between the caretaker government and the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protest group.

Ms Yingluck said she was willing to listen to the PDRC's proposals if the talks help restore peace to the country.

However, the premier said she was not in a position to directly engage in negotiations as there are several legal procedures that must be followed.

Responding to reports that former deputy prime minister Visanu Krue-ngam had emerged as a potential mediator to broker talks between the two sides, Ms Yingluck said only that Mr Visanu is a "knowledgeable person".

However, the premier stressed she did not want to be seen as a party in the conflict.

''Some things have happened that are not because of me. They are about legalities, and rules under the constitution,'' Ms Yingluck said.

''The problems cannot be resolved by talks between just two people,'' Ms Yingluck said, adding there are many procedures and rules that need to be considered.

Ms Yingluck said the immediate solution is to bring the country back to normalcy, saying the election must be completed so there are enough MPs to convene the House of Representatives. The process to solve the problems can then begin, she said.

If the election does not proceed, government agencies cannot do their jobs, she added. PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban said protesters would not negotiate with the caretaker government nor any mediator.

The only way out of the political conflict is for the Ms Yingluck and her administration to step down, he said.

Mr Suthep was addressing supporters yesterday at the Lumpini Park rally site to mark one month since the PDRC's ''Bangkok shutdown" operation began.

However, protest group co-leader Thaworn Senneam yesterday hinted at the possibility of talks between the PDRC and the caretaker government to end the political conflict.

He said negotiations would be possible if the conflicting parties agree to compromise.

Mr Thaworn said the Election Commission and the government now remain in a deadlock over who should call a new poll date for the 28 constituencies in the southern provinces which did not have any candidates.

The government should not proceed with the election but engage in talks to end the conflict, Mr Thaworn said.

If and when Ms Yingluck agrees to step down, the PDRC will end its rallies, Mr Thaworn said.

An interim government could then be set up comprising ''neutral people'' to initiate a reform process by appointing a reform committee, he said.

After reform plans are completed, the interim government would resign, paving the way for a new general election to be held under new election rules, Mr Thaworn added.

He said true reform must end political divisions and neutral people are needed to initiate this process.

The two opposing sides — the PDRC and the caretaker government — should steer clear of the process.

Mr Thaworn said Mr Suthep's proposal for  a people's council is intended to give the public a broad idea, but said he believes the proposal can be negotiated in principle.

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