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Thailand holds televised debate on political crisis

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Thailand holds televised debate on political crisis


A further round of televised talks between Thailand’s prime minister and leaders of anti-government protests is to be broadcast today after the two sides failed to agree on how to solve the country’s political crisis live on-air.

During an unprecedented TV debate the “Red Shirt” protesters set out a series of demands including a call for the premier to relinquish power and call another election.

Protest leader Veera Musikapong said: “Our request is simple and direct: Dissolve parliament for the people to decide again.”

But the under-pressure prime minister refused to concede any ground.

Abhisit Vejjajiva said: “I regard a dissolution of parliament as a change permissible within the system but there’s a question: Dissolve parliament, then what do we want to do? What’s the goal?”

The on-screen confrontation marks a relatively civilised pause in an increasingly hostile series of protests that have forced the prime minister to take refuge in an army base.

The protest movement consists largely of supporters of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted by a military coup in 2006 amid claims of corruption – backed by pro-democracy activists opposed to the army takeover.

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