Thailand’s six-month-old anti-government protests will end May 27 in either success or failure in toppling the administration, the movement’s main leader said on Saturday.
“If we have not won by May 27, I will surrender to authorities, and everyone can go home,” said Suthep Thaungsuban, who heads the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).
It and other protest groups have been staging demonstrations since November to oust the government of the Pheu Thai Party, whose de facto leader is fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
The movement has sought to create a power vacuum that would pave the way for the Senate to appoint a non-elected prime minister, using a loophole in the constitution, and set up an interim cabinet that would oversee political reforms aimed at keeping populist politicians such as Thaksin from dominating Thai politics in the future.
Mr. Suthep’s plans suffered a setback Friday when the Senate refused to appoint a prime minister.
After meeting with PDRC regional leaders on Saturday, Mr. Suthep vowed to undertake a final offensive beginning Friday to force the resignation of the caretaker cabinet.
If he is disappointed by the participation of the people, he will call it quits, Mr. Suthep said.
Mr. Suthep, a former secretary general of the opposition Democrat Party, has announced “final battles” on several occasions over the past six months, but his failures to oust the government have not stopped the protests.
He faces an arrest warrant for insurrection and violations of security laws.
Thaksin, who was prime minister from 2001 to 2006, faces jail himself. He is living in self-imposed exile to avoid a two-year sentence for a 2008 conviction for abuse of power.