Step down for sake of the country, senators urge Thai govt

Step down for sake of the country, senators urge Thai govt
Anti-government protesters gather outside the Parliament compound yesterday, waiting for a decision by senators about a way out of the ongoing political deadlock.

In a move likely to deepen the political crisis, the Senate yesterday called on the caretaker government to consider resigning and pave the way for a new administration with full authority that is fully functional.

However, the senators failed to meet the demands made by anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) for the appointment of a new unelected prime minister.

Following an informal meeting with senators, acting Senate Speaker Surachai Liengboonlertchai yesterday put forward a three-point demand on behalf of the Senate - the only remaining legislative institution since the House was dissolved in December.

First, he said, a prime minister and a Cabinet with full authority must be put in place to solve the crisis and work on bringing back peace and reconciliation.

The Senate also wants the caretaker government and all political parties to help in the effort to find a way out for the country, he said.

While thirdly, if necessary, the Senate may convene a special meeting, as allowed by its regulations, to acquire a prime minister in line with the existing laws, political customs and the Constitution.

"We hope to get full cooperation from the government and all sectors in order to pull through the crisis. We hope all parties involved will sacrifice and change their views for the country's sake," Surachai said yesterday.

He added that he would meet the government, especially acting Premier Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan, on Monday to discuss solutions for the country.

Niwattumrong had said earlier yesterday that he was too busy to meet the senators today to discuss the political stalemate as requested by the Upper House. He is apparently scheduled to go on working trips over the weekend to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.

"If the government is aware that it has limited power, which would have an adverse impact on how it runs the country, then I believe they can make their judgement," Surachai said. "We are not focusing on appointing a new prime minister or an interim Cabinet under Article 7 of the Constitution."

There have been calls for the government to resign to pave the way for a fully functional administration.

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