THAILAND - Suthep Thaugsuban, leader of the anti-government movement, announced yesterday that if the movement gained "sovereign" status he would seek royal endorsement for a new prime minister.
His announcement came as thousands of pro-government red-shirt demonstrators gathered for a mass rally on Utthayan (Aksa) Road in Nakhon Pathom, just outside Bangkok.
The red-shirt rally is being held at a time when the caretaker government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is facing a number of legal problems that could lead to its demise.
Suthep yesterday said that as "the people's medium", he would nominate a new prime minister for royal endorsement.
He said following that a "people's assembly" would be set up to reform the country by amending the Constitution and relevant laws, before a new election would be organised.
He said that it was now the "final round" of battle against the caretaker government and that the "victory day" for the anti-government movement was drawing closer.
Suthep, secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), expects the next battle to last about 15 days in a bid to "seize sovereignty back to the people".
He urged all groups of PDRC's supporters to be ready for declaration of "victory day".
"We will have to fight harder and this time it will be known if we will lose or win," he said before a gathering of PDRC supporters at Lumpini Park.
Suthep said the timing of "victory day" would depend on separate actions by the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Constitutional Court against Yingluck.
The prime minister faces neglect-of-duty charges linked to the loss-making rice price-pledging scheme and allegations of abuse of power over the transfer of National Security Council secretary-general Thawil Pliensri.
Suthep said the PDRC would prevent the government and its supporters from denying the authority of the court.
"This time we will seize Thailand. The sovereignty belongs to the Thai people and the government has already committed suicide after dissolving the House of Representatives on December 9. We the people have the right to become the sovereign," he said.
Suthep said that yesterday's meeting of PDRC leaders from all over the country at Lumpini Park was attended by representatives from some 1,800 groups.