Democracy group sets deadline for debate talks
The government yesterday failed to send a representative to talks on holding an open debate on the political crisis with the former opposition parties and the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD).
Hats for ‘the opposition’, ‘the PAD’ and ‘the government’ are placed on the table at yesterday’s meeting for representatives from the three groups to discuss the format of a debate organised by the Open Forum for Democracy Foundation. No government repres
Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, of the Open Forum for Democracy Foundation, which is trying to arrange the open debate next Friday, said the government had been given until 11am today to make contact. After that, the foundation will hold a press conference to declare its stance in the political crisis, he said.
Somchai said that since the other parties in the proposed debate - the former opposition parties and the PAD - had rejected a closed-door meeting, the government should join the open talks or it would to lead to violence.
The Open Forum for Democracy Foundation arranged a meeting at Manangkasila House yesterday for the government, former opposition parties and the PAD to discuss holding a joint open debate on Friday.
Democrat Party executive Sathit Wongnongtoey arrived on time whereas Suriyasai Katasila of the PAD arrived 90 minutes, saying he had been confused about the appointed time.
Somchai said Public Health Minister Pinij Charusombat had been contacted and was expected to come, but was reportedly on a trip to Cambodia and asked for an invitation letter from the meeting's organisers.
Sathit said the former opposition parties would participate in the debate if all parties were represented by their leaders and it was held in public.
Suriyasai said the PAD would not take part if there was no representative from the government. "It's useless to talk if the cause of the problem won't join," he said.
This means that unless the government is represented, Friday's debate will not take place.
Interior Minister Kongsak Wantana yesterday said the premier was ready to enter a dialogue with other parties to end the crisis.
Meanwhile, the University Presidents Council of Thailand (UPCT) yesterday was unable to have the planned discussion with representatives from the former opposition parties.
"It's my fault," UPCT president Pratya Vesarach said, explaining why the opposition parties abruptly cancelled the discussions.
He said there had been a suspicion that the government was behind the UPCT's attempt to act as a mediator after he disclosed that the academics were going to talk with the opposition parties.
"It caused a misunderstanding. Now, the opposition parties have postponed the discussion," Pratya said.
He added that the negotiation could take place although the PAD declined an offer to take part because they were to be held behind closed doors.
"We can have recorded discussions to ensure no one lies," he said.