Sunday, April 25, 2010

Glimmer of hope of settlement dashed

That little glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel was snuffed out almost as it emerged. After three rounds of unofficial talks between Veera Muksikapong of the red shirts and M.R. Sukhumbhand Paribatra of the Democrat Party (Bangkok's governor), PM Abhisit Vejjajiva called off the negotiations.

Why? The PM said on TV this morning that the red shirts' new demand for him to dissolve the House in 30 days "simply doesn't make sense." He said there is no guarantee that a new election would resolve the ongoing crisis. The PM claims that some of the red shirted leaders harbour objectives much beyond just a new election.
"They were talking about a new state and changing to the highest institution of the country," Abhisit said.

It is now likely that any future talks will have to be more than just bilateral negotiations between the government and the red shirts. The yellow and the pink shirts as well as other civil society groups have also demanded a say in how the "road map" should be drawn up.

He didn't mention Thaksin Shinawatra, but it was obvious that Abhisit had Thaksin in mind when he said he wasn't sure who was making decisions for the red shirt movement.
"Some of them say they want 30 days, others say 3 months and still other want six months..." he said.

Abhisit, accompanied by Army Chief Anupong Paochinda in the television show, appeared to have bounced back from his week-long "disappearance" from public. Today, he appeared more determined to "overcome the challenge."

How he will achieve that remains unclear and uncertain at best.


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Steve said...

There's an interesting and, arguably, revealing interview with MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra about those talks - and more - in Asia Times Online at

Without reading too much "between the lines", it seems like the talks were showing promise - until Abhisit abruptly pulled the plug on Saturday.... round about the time he recorded his talk show - the one with Gen Anupong sitting so far away from him.

I suspect I'm not the only one who thinks that Abhisit (for whatever reasons) a] knowingly misrepresents and obfuscates the nature of UDD demands and b] pulled out of the talks rather prematurely. What did he have to lose by persisting with them - when the alternative course (crackdown) shows almost no sign of happening in the foreseeable future?

Future talks with everyone at the table? Seems improbable. In any case - that makes Abhisit just some kind of chairman calling for a vote by the "board"; isn't he supposed to, ummm, lead at some point?