Thailand's besieged Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today broke down in tears but refused to step down ahead of a snap polls, even as a defiant opposition gave her 24 hour ultimatum to quit.
"We are fellow Thais. Why do we have (to) hurt one another. I have retreated so far and I don't know where to retreat further. Do you (protesters) want me to not even set foot on Thai soil?" Yingluck, also the defence minister, said at the Thai Army Club during the weekly cabinet meeting.
She urged the protesters not to condemn the Shinawatra clan, and asked the opposition Democrat Party to help preserve democracy by taking part in the elections, Bangkok Post newspaper said.
"Now that the government has dissolved parliament, I ask that you stop protesting and that all sides work towards elections," Yingluck said.
Thailand will go to polls on February 2 next year after Yingluck dissolved the Parliament yesterday. Yingluck's decision followed weeks of anti-government protests by opposition Democrat party supporters who want Yingluck and her administration to quit.
The anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) has repeated its demand that Yingluck must step down.
"The PDRC gives Yingluck 24 hours to decide since PDRC secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban made the announcement at 10.30pm yesterday," Suthep's stepson Akanat Promphan was quoted as saying by the Post.
However, senior members of ruling Pheu Thai Party last night agreed to make 46-year-old Yingluck the top candidate on the party list for the next elections, party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said here.
Prompong said Yingluck would be nominated to stand as prime minister again if the party won the polls because she had shown strong leadership in her current term by making decisions that protected democracy and the general public.
Only 6,000 protesters today turned up in the historic part of Bangkok around Government House where Yingluck's office is located, police said, a far cry from the 160,000 that converged peacefully on the complex yesterday.
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