Thailand's prime minister proposes summit on amnesty bill

Aug. 3, 2013 at 4:19 PM

BANGKOK, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced she will host a summit next week on political reforms.

Yingluck said in a televised announcement to the nation Friday night the meeting would be aimed at creating a dialogue among different political stakeholders.

The dispute over Thailand's so-called amnesty bill has led to a series of protests in the streets of Bangkok and churned up rumors and speculation that a coup could be in the works, the Bangkok Post said Saturday.

"We have talked about the issue for two years," Yingluck said. "I would like Parliament to be a forum for representatives of all parties, including the people, to talk."

The controversial amnesty bill, which goes before Parliament next week, would essentially wipe the slate clean for those convicted of offenses arising from protests against a 2006 military coup. Critics say the bill is actually intended as a means of allowing fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the current prime minister's brother, to return home.

The Post said Yingluck's proposed meeting was received warily by opposition parties. Some called the proposed summit a stalling tactic and demanded the amnesty bill be dropped before convening any negotiations.

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