Yingluck plans follow-up of first “Political Reform Forum” with more meetings

Thai PM Shinawatra at Asia Society 21

Thai PM Shinawatra at Asia Society 21 (Photo credit: Asia Society)

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Sunday chaired the first meeting of the political reform forum which was attended by some 70 prominent figures and representatives from several sectors at Government House. She said the more meetings of the forum would be held, following the first meeting. Yingluck said that the process of exchanging ideas and discussion is open without specific conceptual frameworks, explaining the government works as the forum’s coordinator only. She said the ideas presented at the forum would be compiled and ready for the next forum meeting. She would like all attendees to look forward and try to find out a solution on how to make Thailand move forward in the future under the democratic system with His Majesty the King as the head of state, as well as how to make Thai people have better standard of living. Yingluck, in her opening speech, said the government would act only as a coordinator of the political forum to which important figures who are rich with experience in many fields and hold different opinions have been invited to help formulate a solution to bring Thailand out of the political impasse and lay down a framework for the country’s future. However, the government’s rivals including People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), the Democrat Party and a group of 40 senators did not show up at the meeting held at Santi Maitree Hall, Government House. The prime minister said that it was a pity that today’s event was incomplete as representatives from the Democrat Party and the PAD did not join the meeting, adding that the forum always welcomed them if they would like to attend later. At the forum, Gen Chavalit said at the meeting that the people should have a bigger role and more power in the country’s political reform agenda and the development of democracy. He said despite past attempts to solve conflicts, the past military coups and constitutions being abolished and rewritten over and over again, there had been no serious mentioning of the people’s sovereign power. The people should be given a bigger role and more power, he said. Gen Chavalit said he believed the political reform forum organised by the government would be useful and that proposals put forward would be put into practice. Also at the furum, Tida Tawornseth, the chairwoman of the UDD, said the red-shirt group did not have a duty to protect the government but wanted the political reform forum to genuinely belong to the people, not just some 70 people invited by the government. “I want to see this forum as a forum of the people of the whole country. The people’s participation is essential,” she said. Ms Tida said the forum should not be used for groups in conflict to offer to take a step backward to bargain for their own interest. She added that “doing this would not offer a way out for the country”.  “A way out for the country should enable the people with different political ideologies to stay together in peace,” she said. (Source)

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