Thailand’s embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday rejected as unconstitutional the demand for her resignation by the opposition whose supporters clashed with the security forces to press for her ouster.
With the opposition giving her two day’s ultimatum to step down and hand over power to an unelected “People’s Council”, Yingluck told a televised press conference that, “I would like everybody to join in finding a solution but I can’t find one under the legal framework and the constitution.”
Ms. Yingluck said the call by anti-government protest leader and former Democrat Party MP Suthep Thaugsuban, to return the ruling mandate and set up a people’s council was impossible under the Constitution.
Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon against hundreds of rock-throwing protesters as they tried to force their way into the Government House and the Metropolitan Police Bureau for a second day today, in their bid to topple Ms. Yingluck, who took over power in 2011.
“I will not pose a condition. If I am able to do anything to return peace, I’ll be willing to do it but it must done under the provision of the Constitution,” she said.
“Please understand me. I don’t know which law under the constitution’s framework I should invoke to implement the call (of people’s council),” Ms. Yingluck said.
Mr. Suthep, during a meeting with Ms. Yingluck in the presence of army, navy and air force commanders late last night, asked her to resign within the next “two days“.
“I don’t know how to implement Suthep’s call under the law. I affirm that I have opened all channels to try to find common solutions. I am open to talks all the time,” Ms. Yingluck said.
Meanwhile, a Thai court issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Suthep for “insurrection” over his attempt to topple the government.
The warrant was issued “for the charge of insurrection which shall be punished with death or life imprisonment”, police said in a statement.
Last week, another court had issued a warrant for Suthep’s arrest for orchestrating the occupation of several ministries.
He already faces murder charges linked to his role in ordering a deadly crackdown on protesters in 2010, when he was deputy prime minister for the then-ruling Democrat Party government.
The protesters want to replace the government with an unelected “People’s Council”, alleging Yingluck’s government is controlled by her brother, ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
Thaksin, was ousted in a military coup in 2006 that left the country bitterly divided.
The protesters allege that Thaksin runs the government from Dubai, where he is staying under a self—imposed exile, and accuse the current administration of using populist policies that are hurting Thailand’s economy to remain in power.
Four people have died and more than 100 injured in the anti-government protests in Thailand’s worst political turmoil since the 2010 rallies that ended in violence.