PM should resign : Chavalit

Former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh proposed on Friday that Samak Sundaravej resign as the head of government as a way to help end the ongoing political deadlock that was threatening to turn violent.

Chavalit said the government now has three options to get out of the impasse - dissolve the House for a snap election, allow the Democrat Party to form a new government with the resignation of the prime minister, and bring the opposition party into a new coalition government.

In 1997, following the economic crash, Chavalit stepped down as prime minister and allowed the opposition to form a government.

Chavalit warned that the march by the People's Alliance for Democracy might trigger an uprising unless the government sends out a clear signal to mend fences with opponents. Should the situation deteriorate into violence, only a coup could restore normalcy, he said.

Democrat Party deputy secretary general Theptai Senpong expressed support for Chavalit's idea, saying it reflected his sincerity towards the country.

"When he was prime minister, Chavalit resigned to show his spirit when the country was in crisis and allowed the opposition to form a new government," he said.

However, Chavalit's proposal was rejected as "premature" by Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama and Kanchana Silpaarcha, deputy leader of the coalition Chart Thai Party.

"It's not time now. We should wait and see how the protest by the People's Alliance for Democracy will turn. The government and police are confident the situation can be kept under control," Kanchana said.

"After the prime minister resigns, who will replace him? General Chavalit?" she asked.

Noppadon, also an executive member of the ruling People Power Party, expressed disagreement to Chavalit's proposal, saying the government had been in office for just four months and had not been involved in any corruption.

"The government won the support from voters so it has the legitimacy to be in office. The current political problem is caused by some groups of people who do not respect the rules. They do not accept people who have been elected by voters," Noppadon said.

"The government can still function. It has the majority in Parliament," he said.

Meanwhile, deputy government spokesman Nattawut Saikua said the prime minister would remain in office and had no intention of stepping down.

"This elected government under His Majesty the King insists we have no desire to use violence against the protesters," he said.

The Nation