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Thursday, June 12, 2008

POLITICAL CRISIS,Point of no return: Anand


Point of no return: Anand

Ex-prime minister says PAD, rivals are irreconcilable; rejects idea for mediation effort by ex-premiers

Former prime minister Anand Panyarachun believes Thai politics has become so polarised that it is beyond reconciliation.

He also played down the idea of having four former prime ministers act as mediators to defuse the political conflict.

Speaking at the Royal Navy Auditorium yesterday after presiding over a seminar on public television, Anand said he was very concerned about the situation because there were two opposing forces who did not seem able to reach reconciliation.

"Every society has differences [in ideas]. But there must be some grounds to work out the differences so that it will not lead to physical violence. At present, Thai politics is clearly divided into two. And I think it has reached a point beyond reconciliation," Anand said.

The People's Alliance for Democracy has continued its street demonstration for the second week. It initially set forth its demand that the government must not amend the 2007 Constitution to help bail out former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from his corruption cases. Now it has added another condition - for the Samak government to resign altogether because it is acting as a nominee for Thaksin and it has failed to tackle the problems of the country.

Thaksin's supporters have also been hitting back at the PAD in a tit-for-tat political battle that has created an atmosphere of instability and spooked investors.

Anand said both sides could not reach any mutual understanding because they were not speaking the same language. When one party raises one point, the other party answers another question.

"They not only need to speak the same language but also the same subject in order to reach an understanding. If they keep on speaking against each other, they will never be able to achieve reconciliation," Anand said.

Respected social critic Dr Praves Wasi suggested that one way to defuse the political conflict is for four former prime ministers to act as mediators between the two sides. This, he said, would help resolve the conflict.

But Anand said mediators could not speak on anybody's behalf and that at best they could only facilitate talks.

"Now I am getting old. I need to have a rest. Let's get the young men and women to do the job," Anand said.

Speaking on his weekly radio talk show, Samak opposed the idea to have four former premiers act as mediators.

"If you bring four former prime ministers to join a talk, what then can they do?" Samak said.

"They can't issue orders. They can only talk. But what happens after that? Under the current situation, the present prime minister, which is me, is assuming responsibility. If there is any mistake, we all can see. And is there any mistake? No, there is not. I am not working alone. I work as a team with 35 other Cabinet members."

The Nation

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