The Democrats are not feeling any pressure after a secret meeting was held between the red- and the yellow-shirt camps on the amnesty issue, party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.
Mr Abhisit said he did not think the talks held on Thursday between key leaders of the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) would result in his party becoming politically isolated.
The closed-door meeting, organised by deputy House speaker Charoen Chankomol, was attended by UDD co-leader and Pheu Thai party list MP Korkaew Pikulthong and PAD spokesman Parnthep Pourpongpan.
The pair reached an initial agreement to issue an amnesty bill for rank and file protesters who violated the emergency decree. Mr Korkaew also proposed a separate bill to set up a committee to decide if anyone else, namely protest leaders, should be granted an amnesty.
Mr Abhisit said the Democrats were still in the game as the party had never opposed efforts to ask for an amnesty.
"But the pardon should be given to rallygoers who staged peaceful protests and were prosecuted under the emergency decree," he said. "Our stance is not different from the PAD," Mr Abhisit said regarding the content of the meeting.
He said he did not support another bill to set up a committee to consider whether anyone else in addition to rallygoers should be granted an amnesty.
"I see no reason and necessity to talk about such a bill," he said. A bill to consider pardons for some rally leaders will only lead to new conflict, he said.
UDD co-leader Nattawut Saikua yesterday insisted the group will press ahead for an amnesty decree for rallygoers.
"The UDD needs an executive decree because we want quick actions," said Mr Nattawut, who is also Deputy Commerce Minister. An executive decree can bypass House consideration. But its opponents say a decree will make it difficult to control the content of the law. Mr Nattawut said other proposals can be made at the Pheu Thai Party's meeting on Feb 19.
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- Writer: Manop Thip-Osod