SINGAPORE: Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said here today he has no plans to call general elections soon and rejected any deal with former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Abhisit told business executives on the sidelines of a one-day official visit to Singapore he wants to ensure political stability and finish Thailand’s role as chair of the ASEAN regional bloc before thinking about elections.
“No, I’m not yet planning for a general election,” he said in reply to a question. Abhisit also rejected any deal with Thaksin, the ousted former leader who is accused of orchestrating anti-government protests while living in self-imposed exile overseas.
“I’m here to look after 60 million (Thai) people and I have to treat them all equally. The former prime minister has broken the law, he’s been convicted by the courts and so he has to accept the consequences of his actions in the way any other Thai would.” Abhisit said he sees Thailand moving towards a two-party system in the years ahead.
“The trend is clear, we do seem to be moving towards what looks like a two-party system,” he said, warning however that Thailand must ensure that this situation will not polarise the Thai people. On the recent upsurge in violence in Thailand’s restive southern provinces, Abhisit said his government would focus on economic development and justice as the key planks of a solution. “One of the key changes that we will make is to shift the emphasis back to development and justice as a way out of this problem in the southern border provinces,” he said.
The Thai government has set up a special committee made up of cabinet members and related agencies to draw up a development plan for the region, he said. Thailand also hopes to establish a special office that will have a cabinet-level official in charge of affairs in the south, he said. “At the same time, we are trying to resolve all the outstanding cases that have brought a sense of injustice to the people in the south and also adapt the way our security forces are operating there to make sure it’s a more integrated approach,” he said.