The leader of a protest group trying to overthrow Thailand's government and scrap planned elections said yesterday the prime minister should either step down or be forced out, and his movement would then need around a year to push through reforms.
Suthep Thaugsuban, a lawmaker who resigned from parliament to lead the protest, and his allies have spoken of a volunteer police force, decentralisation of power and electoral reform - but apart from that have been noticeably short on specifics.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called an election for February 2 in an effort to end the protests but Suthep, knowing that allies of Yingluck's brother, ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, would probably win any election, wants an unelected "people's council" to take over.
Suthep said he would meet military chiefs today to discuss his strategy, but he rejected any idea of cutting a deal with Yingluck, who heads a caretaker government now that the king has endorsed the election date.
She will hold a forum tomorrow to discuss reforms but says they can only be drawn up and implemented after the election.
"Yingluck's invitations for national reform forums are nothing new. We do not accept Yingluck's offer. We won't negotiate," Suthep said.
The "soft way out" of the impasse, he said, was for Yingluck to step down and let his council push through reforms. Failing that, the people would simply seize power, he said.