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Thai Red Shirts warn on unelected premier

Government supporters warn judiciary and senate that attempt to install unelected prime minister could spark civil war.

Last updated: 10 May 2014 17:10
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Thai pro-government Red Shirt protesters have warned against moves to install an unelected premier [AFP]

Supporters of Thailand's embattled government have warned the country's judiciary and senate against any attempt to install an unelected prime minister, saying it would be a disaster for the nation that could spark civil war.

Jatuporn Prompan, who heads the pro-government Red Shirt movement, made the comment on Saturday during a rally on the western edge of Bangkok that was held three days after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was ousted in a
controversial ruling by the Constitutional Court.

Wednesday's ruling emboldened anti-government protesters, who on Friday increased their efforts to bring down what remains of Yingluck's administration by laying siege to television stations, surrounding state offices and demanding politicians help them install a non-elected prime minister to rule the country.

Appointing an unelected prime minister would "inflict a crisis on the nation, because the only solution for Thailand is democracy under the king as head of the state," Jatuporn said.

"I want my voice to be heard by the presidents of three courts and the senate ... that you are going to create a disaster in the nation," he said.

"You are going to create a serious crisis that could lead to a civil war that no one wants to see."

Push to oust entire cabinet

Yingluck's cabinet has named deputy premier Niwattumrong Boonsongpaisan as acting prime minister, but the leader of the anti-government protest movement, Suthep Thaugsuban, said on Saturday that Niwattumrong "doesn't hold the authority and status to be the head of the government".

Suthep said the senate should "quickly consult the presidents of the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Administrative Court and the Election Commission to work to appoint the new prime minister immediately".

The anti-government protesters had achieved a partial victory when Yingluck was ousted on Wednesday, saying she had violated the constitution by transferring a senior civil servant to benefit her politically powerful family. Nine other cabinet members were also forced from their posts.

The anti-government protesters called on Friday for a "final push" to oust the entire cabinet and set up an unelected "people's council" that they said could implement still-undefined reforms to combat corruption.

The protesters also oppose elections scheduled for July, which the current ruling party would likely win.

With anti-government protesters on the streets of Bangkok and the Red Shirts rallying on the city's western edge, there have been concerns about violence.

Jatuporn said "each side should take care of their own supporters" and avoid confrontation.

Since the latest political crisis intensified in November, 25 people have died in protest-related violence and more than 800 have been wounded.

On Friday, police fired tear gas and water cannons to push back hundreds of anti-government demonstrators who attempted to force their way into the government's security agency. Six people were injured.

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Source:
Associated Press
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