Refusal to resign = refusal to talk?
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Refusal to resign = refusal to talk?

Nattaya Chetchotiros, assistant news editor at the Bangkok Post, has an op-ed in today’s Post. There is some odd logic:

After disappearing from public view for over a week, Ms Yingluck wrote on Facebook that she urged talks. She refused to resign “to protect democracy”, stating: “I will do my duty until the last minute.”

In effect, her refusal to step down is also a refusal to talk.

BP: Seriously? How can refusing to give in completely without anything in return from Suthep refusing to talk?

The Post has been calling for talks, but they continually misrepresent what is happening. The Bangkok Post in an editorial a few days ago:

Most rational people continue to press for political negotiations. More than ever, it is crystal clear that a one-sided “victory” would bring no closure. The only course with the slightest chance of success is compromise. But the men and women claiming to lead political developments have either rejected compromise outright, or are quickly moving away from it. It is up to concerned, reasonable citizens to bring them back to reality.

Suthep Thaugsuban has rejected compromise almost from the beginning of his crusade to topple the “Thaksin regime”. Even cutting through his rhetoric, it seems he demands that his People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) supporters refuse all entreaty to negotiate a settlement. In this way lies destruction. Any so-called victory by Mr Suthep will be quickly challenged by an opposing group. The red shirts already have promised that.

For a while, it was possible to take the words of caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at face value. She promised reconciliation and justice “for all Thais” in her election campaign. A political novice, she got the benefit of the doubt from most people in the country.

Ms Yingluck is still claiming to favour negotiations, quick political reform and compromise. In truth, she has declared emergency law. She has appointed the most hard-line officials possible to enforce it. Her public appeals provide no hint of accommodation. She has given credibility to Panlop Pinmanee, a retired icon of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc). Gen Panlop’s reputation is unique as a tough, no-quarters opponent of any real or political enemy.

BP: How is declaring a state of emergency mean the PM doesn’t want talks? Suthep is the one who has refused negotiations.

In an editor’s comment in the Bangkok Post on February 26

But neither side can refute the fact that as the political deadlock continues, the degree of violence has escalated sharply.

They truly have no other choice. Ms Ying­luck can hold on to her caretaker status as the “guardian of democracy” but she apparently cannot govern.

Mr Suthep, meanwhile, can go on harassing the caretaker premier but he has no legal or political means with which to unseat her.

Leaving the country in this perpetual state of crisis will only compromise its future recovery and their fellow Thais will end up being hurt the most.

Between Ms Yingluck’s insistence on adhering to the democratic sanctity of a popular election and Mr Suthep’s proposal that the country undergo reform, a range of possible solutions exist.

Those solutions would probably not give either side everything they want but they could at least pull the country out of the quagmire where the risk of slipping into lawlessness is high.

Start the talks now while they are still possible. Contain the hatred before it triggers a civil war among us.

BP: Why are none of all these people who favor talks putting any pressure on Suthep to come to the table to talk and to agree to compromise?  Just look at what has taken place. Eventually, after opposition to the Amnesty Bill became so strong, Yingluck signalled the government would accept if the Senate rejected the Bill which the Senate did with pro-government Senators also voting against the Bill. Then, as protests continued in early December, Yingluck offered the dissolution option (which the protesters rejected) and a referendum option as well (which they also rejected). Back then Abhisit stated he welcomed a dissolution and it was a way of the government showing responsibility and that it does not have the intention of clinging to powerYingluck dissolved parliament, but the Democrats refused to contest the election. On multiple occasions, Suthep has refused talks and says there will be no compromises over the last 2 months (1, 2, 3, and 4).

Since then we have had Suthep say that a government representative offered to postpone the election until May 4 if they stop protesting, but Suthep and the protesters have refused all government offers and refused to negotiate. Abhisit has previously indicated privately that the Democrats would participate if the rules are strengthened and regulations are issued to make the election process fairer.

P.S. See that Suthep has now said that he will talk, but if only live on TV as it would be for all to see and it will be fun. However, he is also imposing all types of conditions. Will he actually front up if Yingluck agrees? What are they willing to compromise on?