BANGKOK: Alarmed by the prospect of bloodshed in Thailand as a six-month political crisis nears a critical juncture, former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has called for talks between the government and its foes, urging compromise to restore stability.
The 49-year-old leader of Thailand’s main opposition Democrat Party has joined street demonstrations in Bangkok aiming to force out Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, and his party boycotted a February 2 election, which was nullified by a court in March after widespread disruption.
But now Abhisit appears to be putting some distance between himself and the protesters.
Violence is threatening to increase, he told foreign media in an interview late on Wednesday. “Given the accumulated frustration and loss of opportunity for the country, it’s really time that people begin to speak up for the middle ground.”
“I think there are many people who want to see common ground emerging. My intention, this week, is to say that: isn’t it time we all accept the reality that neither side can get its way, and even if it did, it couldn’t bring long-lasting stability.”
The protests, which attracted more than 200,000 people at their height, have dwindled but hard-core demonstrators say they will continue to harass the government and disrupt any new election until Yingluck’s government is toppled.
Abhisit’s comments were met with scepticism by the government.