Thai premier skips graft hearing, rejects oppn offer for talks
Thai premier skips graft hearing, rejects oppn offer for talks

Bangkok : Embattled Thai Premier Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday skipped her appearance before an anti-graft body over charges related to a populist rice-pledging scheme, even as she shot down anti-government protest movement’s conditional talk offer to end ongoing political deadlock, reports PTI.

 The charges relate to the controversial rice subsidy scheme that paid farmers above the market price and has run out of funds, adding to Yingluck’s woes as farmers demand their money. The charges sparked speculation of her ouster if the anti-graft body delivers a ruling against her. The 46-year-old premier faces an impeachment vote in the upper house of the parliament and a possible five-year ban from politics if convicted.

 Yingluck, who is currently working from her stronghold in northern Thailand, has said she would assign her legal team to acknowledge charges related to the scheme slapped on her by the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). Meanwhile, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, who since weeks has been refusing to hold any form of talks with the government, on Thursday offered to hold one-on-one talks with the caretaker premier on the condition that this is beamed live. I am “ready to sit down and talk with Yingluck but this has to be one-on-one and broadcast live on all television channels”, Suthep told his supporters at a rally.

 Yingluck, who shot down Suthep’s offer within a few hours, told reporters she wants to know whether Suthep is ready to hold talks under the framework of the Constitution or not. “Moreover is Khun Suthep ready to halt the protests so that the election can proceed according to the principles of democracy?” asked the prime minister.

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