'People's revolution' declared in Thailand

'People's revolution' declared in Thailand

His Majesty the King endorses House dissolution decree, national election set for February 2; some academics agree with protesters, but urge both sides to talk and find a solution

Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the anti-government protest, announced last night that the public would appoint a new prime minister and government, as well as a "people's council" to act as the legislature following what he termed a "people's revolution".

He made this announcement outside Government House before a large crowd of protesters who had marched for hours from nine locations across the capital. Suthep, himself, had taken part in the 20-kilometre march from the Government Complex in Nonthaburi.

In the morning, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra had dissolved the House of Representatives and called for a new general election. His Majesty the King endorsed the decree on House dissolution in the evening. The election date was later set for February 2.

Suthep, who is secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), said in a live broadcast that the people had "recalled the power" from the government, which he described as corrupt, dishonest and unfaithful.

He pointed to acts by the government and the Pheu Thai-dominated lower house that resulted in a loss of trust. This included the bill that would give blanket amnesty to politicians sentenced in corruption cases and offenders of serious crimes during the recent political unrest.

Suthep said the people had the right to take back the government's power, as the administration had abused its authority and violated the rule of law and good governance, hence the PDRC could invoke Article 3 of the Constitution. It states: "The sovereign power belongs to the Thai people. The King as head of state shall exercise such power through the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers and the Courts in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution."

Describing the protest movement as "pracha phiwat" or people's revolution, Suthep likened PDRC to the "sovereign power" obtained by coup-makers following a successful takeover.

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