Prime minister Abhisit Veijajiva appeared on television on Monday evening to announce a ‘road map’ to reconciliation leading to new elections on November 14 in attempt to end the anti-government protests. But before this happen five points have to be agreed on by all parties:
1) All parties concerned must join forces to uphold the monarchy.
2) The government will carry out national reform to do away with injustice in the economic and political structures. As part of the process, the government will provide good social welfare, education, health etc, as well as other things to people suffering from other plights.
3) The government will ensure that the media will function as a constructive tool.
4) The government will set up an independent committee to investigate the deaths and injuries in clashes between troops, police and protesters on April 10, at Silom and on Vibhavadi Road.
5) The government will take actions to study the public feelings of injustice regarding to political system, especially after what happened over last few years, and try to solve the problems.
“PM announces next election will be held on Nov 14“, The Nation, May 3, 2010
That all sounds pretty and good, but it has to be seen if the roadmap points can be fully realized (especially point number 3 and 4 makes me doubt).
We have come from a long way from the red shirts’ original demand to dissolve house right away, to within two weeks, to within a month and lastly to 3+2 months (in Thai), whereas the government has originally offered new elections at the end of the year. With the newest offer by Abhisit, both parties are now just 1 month apart.
But the new date for the elections still takes places after the annual passage of the budget and the military reshuffle that usually takes place in September. These two points might be the stumbling block that the red shirts will refuse as the current government can make last adjustments before the polls. By the way, according to the constitution, new elections have to take pace 60 days after dissolution of parliament. So if November 14 is the planned election day, the House has to be dissolved on September 15 at the latest.
The red shirt leaders have not agreed on this yet as they, of course, have to discuss about it. The reactions from some leaders so far are…
One protest leader, Suporn Attawong, called Mr. Abhisit’s proposal “great because all of this will come to an end. Everyone will be able to return home and go back to work,”.
“Thai Premier Offers Deal to Protesters“, New York Times, May 3, 2010
Protest leader Jatuporn Prompan said they would seriously consider the reconciliation plan. “We will talk about it and discuss his proposal seriously and decide what our position is. We cannot just reject or accept it immediately,” he told Reuters news agency.
“Thai PM offers November election to end stand-off“, BBC News, May 3, 2010
The ball is now in the red shirts’ court, they have to decide if they accept the compromise or reject and thus make the deadlock even worse. Because the military has also made its move today and were readying some armored humvees. Either way, the red shirts protests are entering the last phase as they themselves can end it or else the army will.