May 18 (Bloomberg) — Thailand’s government said it is willing to reopen talks on holding an early election to help avoid bloodshed after six days of gun battles in Bangkok that have killed at least 36 people.
“We are willing to renegotiate the election,” Korbsak Sabhavasu, the government’s chief negotiator and a former deputy prime minister said in a phone interview today. “We are not holding onto power, we want to do the best for the country.”
Thai protest leader Nattawut Saikuar said today his group is willing to accept an offer by the Senate to mediate. Korbsak, who spoke yesterday to Nattawut, indicated the government is anxious to avoid further loss of life.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is also bidding to keep the Red Shirt protest movement from expanding beyond Bangkok to rural areas where his administration has less control. Failure to contain the deadliest political clashes in two decades has exposed a widening social rift that threatens to undermine growth in the $260 billion economy.