Saturday, March 24, 2012

Yingluck insists she will stay on as PM


 
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra says she will maintain her premiership after 111 veteran politicians of the defunct Thai Rak Thai Party legally return to political roles when the five-year ban on them expires in May.
It is the first time Ms Yingluck has given this assurance since she took the portfolio about seven months ago.
"I won't resign," she responded to a question as to whether she would step aside to pave the way for the veteran politicians.
Ms Yingluck was addressing journalists at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand last night.
Ms Yingluck said she has a mandate to rule the country because she led the party to win the majority of the votes at the past election.
"Time will prove how I can run the country," she said.
She said, however, her government would welcome any capable person to work for the government with herself as the leader.
In a recent interview with the Bangkok Post, Ms Yingluck's elder brother and former prime minister Thaksin said when the banned politicians officially return to politics, they would join his sister's government, but it is not a must for them to take ministerial portfolios.
"They may be advisers [to the Yingluck government]," Thaksin said.
The 111 senior politicians, who were executives of the Thai Rak Thai Party, were banned from politics for five years by the Constitution Court following the dissolution of the party on May 30, 2007.
Ms Yingluck also rejected criticisms that Thaksin made the decisions on behalf of her government.
Ms Yingluck's 60-minute talk was delivered in English and touched on various issues including the post-flood economy, water management plans, reconciliation, the charter amendment, women's development and her favourite songs.
Regarding the reconciliation efforts, Ms Yingluck said justice must be done for all and everything must be based on the rule of law.
The government had followed proposals made by the Truth for Reconciliation Commission, chaired by Kanit na Nakhon, and had prepared 1.9 billion baht to compensate those affected by political unrest, Ms Yingluck said.
On charter amendment, Ms Yingluck said the move was aimed to create political stability in the country and to help all Thais - not individuals.
She said the matter was now in the parliamentary process and a constitution drafting assembly would be established soon.
The prime minister also briefed reporters about the government's flood prevention scheme, saying the government had earmarked US$11.4 billion for flood prevention projects. Plans to safeguard industrial estates from further inundation are now in place, she said.
When asked if she had any favourite songs such as her predecessor Abhisit Vejjajiva, who is known to have a wide interest in music and sport, Ms Yingluck said she liked "easy listening" music.
She has about 5,000 songs, both Thai and foreign, recorded in her iPod and she likes listening to them while travelling or when under pressure.