Yingluck to leave politics if country wants it

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday she is ready to step down if the people want her out, but added that she had not discussed the possibility of quitting politics with her brother, ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, or other members of her family.

Yingluck was responding to reports in which Thaksin aide Noppadon Pattama quoted the former premier as saying he was ready to "sacrifice his family" by ending its political career so the country can emerge from the political impasse and move forward.

Earlier this year, Yingluck dismissed reports that Thaksin would have her step down as prime minister. Observers now believe Thaksin's latest move was intended to test the waters, but the anti-government group led by Suthep Thaugsuban has brushed aside his proposal.

Asked if she had ever thought of taking a break from politics, Yingluck said, "I have said that I am not attached to my post if that is what the country wants. What is important is [that my leaving politics] must bring about peace and that all sides will follow the rule of law," she said.

Yingluck refused to answer whether she would request an audience with His Majesty the King soon to report on the country's current situation, though she did say that it was one of her duties.

The caretaker prime minister is being investigated by the National Anti-Corruption Commission for alleged dereliction of duty over the government's loss-making and corruption-plagued rice-pledging scheme.

She is also accused of malfeasance in a case being heard by the Constitutional Court in connection with her transfer of National Security Council secretary-general Thawil Pliensri.

Democrat Party deputy spokesman Jurin Laksanawisit said if Thaksin meant he wanted to wash his hands of politics, he should back up his claim by closing his war room in Hong Kong, returning to serve his jail term, ordering the government and supporters to accept rulings by independent agencies and dropping any ideas of passing amnesty bills.