Thai PM proposes a five-point political roadmap to end political crisis; General elections in Thailand to be held on November 14; Red Shirts accept Abhisit’s roadmap but refrain from calling off street protests; Thai government reiterates that recent viol
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  • At a meeting at a military base in Bangkok on May 2, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva stated that he was working on a political roadmap to bring an end to the current political crisis gripping the country.1 Abhisit’s roadmap is reportedly based on five key areas: respect for the monarchy; solution of social and economic justice through a national reform; ensuring of free but responsible media’ probing of incidents resulting in the loss of life or affecting the public sentiment; and amendment of the charter to be fair to all political parties.

    Abhisit also announced that next general elections will be held on November 14, if all political parties agree to the reconciliation process proposed by the government.2 The Thai PM stated on May 6 the parliament would be dissolved any day from September 15–30.3 The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) cadres on their part have decided to accept Abhisit’s roadmap to prevent further violence. They have however not called off their protests and stated that their future course of action will be decided only after acquiring more information regarding the dissolution of Parliament.4

    Violence continued even after the roadmap of the government was announced. A grenade explosion on May 8 at Lumpini park near Silom in Thailand killed one cop and injured three soldiers.5 In another incident, one cop was killed and three others injured as a biker shot at the police on patrol near the Bangkok Bank.6 The Thai government has however reiterated that its reconciliation road map will not be affected.7

    In Myanmar, pro-democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party National League for Democracy (NLD) was dissolved under the new election law according to which political parties were needed to legally register themselves. The NLD had refused to re-register itself as a political party by the May 6 deadline set by the government. The NLD refused to do so as under the new rule, it was required to expel Suu Kyi from its ranks.8

    The US government expressed concern over the forceful dissolution of the NLD by the Myanmar authorities. Kurt Campbell, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs stated that the US was “troubled” and that it had “very real concerns about the elections laws and the environment that’s been created.” Campbell visited capital Naypyidaw on May 9 to have talks with junta officials as well as with Suu Kyi on these and related issues.9

    Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak visited Cambodia from May 9. This was his first visit to Cambodia after assuming office in April 2009 and is expected to strengthen bilateral ties.10