Thai PM proposes referendum on her future as protesters prepare big push

Thai PM proposes referendum on her future as protesters prepare big push

BANGKOK - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra proposed a referendum on her future on Sunday and promised to resign if that was what the people wanted, as anti-government protesters prepared for a final push to try to force her from power.

Protesters have been on the streets of the capital for weeks, clashing with police and vowing to oust Yingluck and eradicate the influence of her self-exiled brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The demonstrations are the latest eruption in nearly a decade of rivalry between forces aligned with the Bangkok-based establishment and those who support Thaksin, a former telecommunications tycoon who won huge support in the countryside with pro-poor policies.

Underscoring the divide, the pro-establishment Democrat Party said all of its members of the House of Representatives would give up their seats because they were unable work with the ruling party.

The leader of the anti-government protesters, Suthep Thaugsuban, a former Democrat Party deputy prime minister, has called for a final demonstration on Monday to force Yingluck out.

Yingluck said in a televised statement her government was searching for ways to end the conflict.

"We should conduct a referendum so that people can decide what we should do," she said.

Suthep, aware that Yingluck and her party would likely win an election if one were called, has been urging the setting up of a "people's council" of appointed "good people" to replace the government.

Yingluck has dismissed the idea as unconstitutional and undemocratic. She did not spell out the specifics of any referendum but said it was in line with the constitution.

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