Yingluck: Protesters' demand unconstitutional

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has rejected the anti-government group's demand she hand power to an unelected "People's Council", but insisted she will do anything else needed to restore peace in the country.

In a 12-minute speech broadcast live on television, Ms Yingluck, also the defence minister, said there had been demands for her to resign, dissolve the House of Representatives, or to give power to an unelected council.

She was speaking from the Royal Thai Police headquarters on Monday afternoon.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who on Nov 11 resigned as a Democrat Party MP for Surat Thani to lead an all-out protest against the Yingluck administration, met the prime minister on Sunday night. The meeting was held at the 4th Infantry Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, and commanders of the three armed forces were also in attendance.

Mr Suthep, who faces a court warrant for his arrest, applied for by police, demanded on Sunday night that that Ms Yingluck  "return power" to the people within two days, saying a "people's council" would be set up to pick a new premier to replace her.

He said that her resignation, or a snap general election, would not be enough. 

"If there's anything I can do to bring peace back to the Thai people I am happy to do it," Ms Yingluck said.

"The government is more than willing to have talks, but I myself cannot see a way out of this problem that is within the law and within the constitution.

"I don't know how we can proceed," with Mr Suthep's demand, she said. "We don't know how to make it happen. Right now we don't see any way to resolve the problem under the constitution."

People would not want to see a repeat of history, when people suffered and lost their lives, she said.

"If a House dissolution or my resignation can make the demonstrators return all the government offices and end their protests, I'm willing to do it," Ms Yingluck said.

When a reporter asked her about the army's position, she said the army has been neutral and wants to see peace in the country. 

She urged all sides to jointly find means to end the ongoing political problem. The government is not attached to remain in power, she added.

Protesters on Monday centred their actions around Government House, the parliament and the Metropolitan Police Bureau in the historic quarter of the capital. 

Anti-government protesters clash with police officers in different areas of Bangkok on Monday. (Bangkok Post photos)

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 03/12/2013 at 09:19 PM
The 1997 Constitution, was changed by the military junta in 2006 and 2007. Quote wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_Constitution_of_Thailand "The 1997 Constitution was the first constitution to be drafted by popularly-elected Constitutional Drafting Assembly, hence was popularly called the "People's Constitution".The 1997 Constitution created a bicameral legislature. For the first time in Thai history, both houses were directly elected. Many human rights are explicitly acknowledged, and measures were established to increase the stability of elected governments." And: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Constitution_of_Thailand
Discussion 2 : 03/12/2013 at 07:45 PM
The problem is that the pandoras box is already open. The majority of Thai voices having been found, would now refuse to be put back into a feudal/patronage system, which by definition is unequal. The world has moved on, and with the advent of modern technology, all pervasive media and open trade, Thailand cannot hope to turn back. The elites have to face reality. What the Dems should be doing is take a hard look at themselves and try to adapt to the Thailand of today, find a new purpose, go out to the provinces, make new policies that can inspire the rural masses.
Discussion 3 : 03/12/2013 at 05:24 PM
@ commee If the government ran again without vote buying they wouldn't have a hope of winning the next election. Tax paying Thais (like me) are sick of seeing the government buying off non tax paying voters… sickness..
Discussion 4 : 03/12/2013 at 03:50 PM
I believe the current constitution was devised by the military junta in 2007. A far more conventional constitution was drawn up by a committee headed by Anand Panyarachun in 1997. The elites would argue that it was the 97 constitution that spawned the Thaksin regime. However in truth it was just a constitution that levelled the playing field for all Thai people, and certain segments of Thai society have difficulty living with that.
Discussion 5 : 03/12/2013 at 03:47 PM
But you misunderstand if you think the army is not the leader of the band.
Discussion 6 : 03/12/2013 at 12:25 PM
Democracy is not right for Thailand. How many elections and constitutions Thai people had since 1932 or 2475 since Thais were handed over the Democracy from the previous king. Democracy is not the only regime for any country, It works only for the Western few countries only, but not work with any other countries at all. To prosper, it again does not have to be just election, take China as a model, it is prospering way over Russia. Compare to Egypt, which has quite a similar political climate like Thailand is now under the military, just like Thais people always under the military per se.
Discussion 7 : 03/12/2013 at 11:23 AM
Well spoken, and Tokay, good governance take a lot of time to learn.
Discussion 8 : 03/12/2013 at 10:23 AM
Agreed if the PM will resign and dissolve parliament and call a general election then Suthep should stop the demonstrations But before dissolving the house need to call a halt to the rice pledge scheme otherwise we will be back to square one.
Discussion 9 : 03/12/2013 at 09:58 AM
If the PT government push through their agenda with trillion baht loans etc there will be no future for Thailand. People are waking up
Discussion 10 : 03/12/2013 at 09:49 AM
Is DEM party changing their brand by keeping silent? People Assembly with no election as DEM cannot win? We heard only one credible voice of Korn disagreement.
Discussion 11 : 03/12/2013 at 09:30 AM
In a democracy you should not change the constitution and the regime each time you want to change the government! You just have to vote to replace him at the end of their mandate. Democracy is especially designed for that!
Discussion 12 : 03/12/2013 at 09:23 AM
@Seamonster the right way Suthep, take the protesters home and campaign for the next election day come.Yingluck, I believe that she came to power through the ballot box and people voted her term in office.She should serve out the term and be removed by the ballot box if that is will of the people and another candidate can win more votes. Democracy can not be possible by any other means.
Discussion 13 : 03/12/2013 at 09:17 AM
No. If people here criticise the politics of PT, they do not criticise his way to preserve democracy.
Discussion 14 : 03/12/2013 at 09:17 AM
I totally agree with you. As for coolit, how exactly did they purchase from the people? By using populist policies? Well, the Democrates were in power but failed to do anything to mend fences with the NE people. As for tokay, I agree with you. But if PT's government is indeed useless, vote them out of power in the next elections... not bring them down by using force and violence.
Discussion 15 : 03/12/2013 at 09:09 AM
"that is within the law and within the constitution." So changing the laws to free convicted politicians is within the constitution?
Discussion 16 : 03/12/2013 at 08:48 AM
I think you are gravely mistaken about one point... returning power back to the people. I am no PT or YS supporter but didn't people power decide in the last general election that PT should form the government? In fact, Suthep's "people's council" proposal smells more like communism rather than democracy.
Discussion 17 : 03/12/2013 at 08:43 AM
Seems to me that what Suthep is trying to do is a none-military coupe. Unconstitutional, undemocratic and unrealistic.
Discussion 18 : 03/12/2013 at 08:43 AM
So, a party which loses a general elections fair & square can just decide to become a sore loser and simply force fresh elections to be called by creating havoc and carnage? What if YS steps down and call for fresh elections AND PT invariably wins the fresh elections?? Then what? Suthep knows full well that the opposition does not have a ghost of a chance of winning and hence, his ridiculous demand of "people's council" without thinking of the most obvious flaw in his proposal (never mind the constitutional dilemma)... who will appoint the members of this "people's council"?? The public?
Discussion 19 : 03/12/2013 at 08:35 AM
No, they last few times it was purchased from the people.
Discussion 20 : 03/12/2013 at 07:57 AM
I'm so proud of Thai people fighting for what they believe is right. If YS loves Thailand she will step down now, call elections and attempt a fresh corruption free start …. am I dreaming?
Discussion 21 : 03/12/2013 at 07:40 AM
Judging by comments on the Post news site it would seem that the consensus of opinion is against both Pheu Thai's mangled version of democratic governance and Suthep's use of violence to change the status quo. If neither side is willing to negotiate its position I can see the army having to take the initiative to resolvs the situation.
Discussion 22 : 03/12/2013 at 07:12 AM
The protesters (the anti-gov) , not the YS s government, is the one to bring back Thailand to its people and keep the country constitutionally belongs to Thailand, Could you tell me why the Red shirts like to display Cambodia flags if they are doing for Thailand? Why don't the YS gov don't do anything when the red shirts promoted their Red villages and created hatred against other minority Thais?
Discussion 23 : 03/12/2013 at 06:04 AM
Good governance is also essential. The good governance is what this government is lacking. Even world leaders such as Tony Blair came to Thailand recently hinted that.
Discussion 24 : 03/12/2013 at 05:12 AM
Thailand is based on democracy, so why should any legitimate person not be allowed to run for prime minister ? Due to the recent uprisings in Thailand and the way it has been handled by the government, I suspect Yinglucks popularity has risen sharply.
Discussion 25 : 03/12/2013 at 03:19 AM
Yes, We know you have schemed to overturn desperately the regime being elected by many peoples in Thailand. And now you have thought that you attempts to change Thailand to anti-democratic nation without an election like the Dictator Pol Pot. Thailand is a democratic country with a constitutional government in Southeast Asia. Your thinking is obviously wrong ! It is against International society !
Discussion 26 : 03/12/2013 at 03:15 AM
Very good to see the Loyal Patriotic people of Thailand taking their country back. Long Reign the King.
Discussion 27 : 03/12/2013 at 02:45 AM
The government is on a roll of calling out things that are unconsitutional: the Constitutional Court, returning power back to the people, the anti-government protests. The only things they don't consider unconstitutional are their own "democratic" actions and the "truly democratic" people that elected them. See how that works?
Discussion 28 : 03/12/2013 at 02:42 AM
Who came and is staying on their own free will? And who came bused in by the regime itself, from the comfort of their Pol Pot-style "red villages" each with pictures of "Dear Leader" hung on the front gate? Don't tell me about the people. What you mean is the huddle rural masses Thaksin has been passing through the meat grinder to fill his own belly.
Discussion 29 : 03/12/2013 at 01:40 AM
WHY did she ever agree to her brothers demands in the first place? You don't have to be a celestial fortune teller to have seen this coming. Whatever happens, she will go down in history as the bad joke of democracy.
Discussion 30 : 03/12/2013 at 01:27 AM
" If there's anything I can do to bring peace back to the Thai people I am happy to do it " Actions speak louder than words read off a script .
Discussion 31 : 03/12/2013 at 01:17 AM
I agree. Apparently the vast majority of the country no longer counts as real people, according to Suthep.
Discussion 32 : 02/12/2013 at 11:48 PM
For better or for worse, the Yingluck government was selected by the people in an election. And only the people, using the electoral process, can change the government. I salute the army for staying out of it. For those who criticize Yingluck or even Thaksin: You may be right. But Democracy is about respecting the people, even when they get it wrong. The lyrics from the song apply "They've got the right to do it wrong if freedom's to survive".
Discussion 33 : 02/12/2013 at 11:43 PM
The beginning issue was just the amnesty bill, in which possibly just needed the opposition and government to sit and do it together, if passed and implemented would bring justice, forgiveness, peace and harmony; with acceleration move the country forward and not get stock and backward. But because "they" classified themselves as opposition, they decided not to work with the government. And always find something to oppose to whatever the government plans to do even it's for the greater of the country now and in the future.
Discussion 34 : 02/12/2013 at 11:26 PM
The opposing sides read and act from the same "playbooks". They just exchange playbooks when they go from being the government administration to being the opposition in the streets. And the old line about one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter also springs to mind. Who is the aggressor and who is the victim all depends upon which side of the fence you are on. There's lots of corruption and malfeasance regardless of which group is in charge, which is to say eliminating the Dubai clique may be justified in and of itself, but that alone will not solve the issues in Thai society and politics which allowed it to emerge.
Discussion 35 : 02/12/2013 at 11:24 PM
What makes Suthep believe that he alone has the solution to all Thailand's problems. Actually quite scary to witness what he stands for untill now. Thais have a well-functioning democracy, and it'll develop without his help ...
Discussion 36 : 02/12/2013 at 11:03 PM
Its amazing how many people regard the anti government demonstrators as the people, The pro government demonstrators and those who elected this government are no people? Tell me, what are they?
Discussion 37 : 02/12/2013 at 09:58 PM
Actions speak louder than words - Thank you, Bangkok Post, for these pictures which dismantle some urban myths!
Discussion 38 : 02/12/2013 at 08:15 PM
And Yingluck would know all about "unconstitutional".
Discussion 39 : 02/12/2013 at 08:14 PM
I've never been a fan of Suthep but I find it amazing that this man, singlehandedly, is making Yingluck appear rational and worldly - something she hasn't been able to do without his help. Clearly a legend in his own mind.
Discussion 40 : 02/12/2013 at 08:14 PM
If she loves the country and the people, she will not hold on to power. If the people love her, they will elect her again to be PM. Love of a leader comes from heart through good deeds done. People are not stupid. Holding on to power by reminding everyone that she has the mandate to rule, means that she completely has no idea how to be a leader.
Discussion 41 : 02/12/2013 at 08:13 PM
Take the election, on condition no Shinwatra runs for prime minister and first hint of a proxy govt and the Dems resign from parliament en-mass and boycott all elections. She won't win back an absolute majority, that will keep Thaksin under control. I find it funny when she all of a sudden talks about the constitution as sacred and the holy grail to be respected lawfully.
Discussion 42 : 02/12/2013 at 08:05 PM
Anybody that has read from a script as many times as she has would look and act confident.
Discussion 43 : 02/12/2013 at 08:02 PM
Nice photos, BP. Keep it up.
Discussion 44 : 02/12/2013 at 07:31 PM
"People's Council" is the best solution. In a democracy, the power should rest with the people, and not the government.
Discussion 45 : 02/12/2013 at 07:13 PM
What is this woman talking about, even if it was constitutional she would not accept it. They do not have the legitimacy to govern if they do not accept the Constitution Courts decisions.
Discussion 46 : 02/12/2013 at 07:11 PM
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people !
Discussion 47 : 02/12/2013 at 07:02 PM
I just looked at that interview on YouTube. Normally I am not exactly a friend of Yingluck but I have to admit she handled that press conference quite well. I understand only part of the Thai part but later she answered some English questions and her answers made sense. Suthep is demanding something that she can’t do. She can resign and she can call new elections but that’s about it. And Suthep says that is not what he wants. As much as I would like to see the back of this government it seems Suthep does not know when to stop. Last week we had hundreds of thousands peaceful protesters. And now?

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