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Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra firm on staying on until Feb. elections

Dec. 10, 2013 at 7:13 AM   |   Comments

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BANGKOK, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Yingluck Shinawatra said Tuesday she will stay on as Thailand's prime minister until February elections despite insistence from protesters she step down.

Anti-government protesters want a "people's council" to take the place of a Yingluck-led caretaker government to oversee the early elections called for Feb. 2.

Speaking to reporters at the Thai Army Club in Bangkok following a Cabinet meeting, Yingluck, while maintaining her stand, said: "I have retreated so far and I don't know where to retreat further," the Bangkok Post reported.

"We are fellow Thais. Why do we have to hurt one another?" she asked.

Yingluck urged the opposition Democrat Party to help preserve democracy by taking part in the Feb. 2 general election and asked protesters to use the electoral system to pick the next administration.

The Post said the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee, however, repeated its demand the caretaker prime minister step down.

Prior to the latest announcement, general elections were not due until 2015. Yingluck's Pheu Thai party came to power after winning a massive victory in the 2011 elections.

Yingluck Monday dissolved Parliament and called for new elections. Thailand's king then decreed elections be held on Feb. 2, the Bangkok Nation reported.

Protest leaders have maintained the Yingluck government is corrupt, has abused its authority and violated the law of good governance and is controlled by her brother Thaksin, a former premier and a telecommunications billionaire who was ousted in a coup in 2006 and who has lived in exile since. Thaksin is accused of influencing policies through his sister's government. The government has denied those allegations.

The protesters are particularly upset over the Yingluck government's failed attempt to pass an amnesty bill they saw as paving the way for the return of her brother, who still enjoys support in the country's rural areas.

The Nation reported the Pheu Thai Party in a late Monday resolution decided to contest the February polls, selecting Yingluck as the first party choice to become the next prime minister.

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