BANGKOK — House Speaker Chuan Leekpai said on Thursday that he will still proceed with his plan to set up a national reconciliation panel even though most of the anti-government protest leaders said they would not participate in the effort.
Chuan said he will seek a meeting with Privy Council President Gen. Surayud Chulanont next week to discuss the proposal, and urged skeptics to wait and listen first.
“Whether conflicting parties joined the panel or not is not a precondition,” Chuan said.
Chuan has been toying with the ideas of inviting former premiers onboard to find a common solution for Thailand’s grievances, including Anand Panyarachun, Abhisit Vejjajiva and Gen. Chavalit Yongchaiyudh.
But key activists behind the ongoing protests read a joint statement on Wednesday afternoon denouncing the reconciliation panel as “an attempt at making a political soap opera in order to buy time” for PM Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha.
“He must resign before there’s any talk,” part of the statement said.
The activists also announced a new rally set to take place at Democracy Monument on Sunday. The protesters will then march to submit a petition urging monarchy reforms, though the route is not yet released.
However, pro-democracy activist Sombat Boonngam-anong said the latest turn of events doesn’t mean that ideas for a reconciliation committee are irrelevant.
“The committee will eventually come up with some proposals and when the time and mood are ripe, it can be used,” Sombat said.
“It’s important for the committee to report to the public as to what’s happening. If their proposals are good enough, they will gain support.”