Pheu Thai denies talk of cremation plot

Pheu Thai denies talk of cremation plot

The Pheu Thai Party and its red-shirt allies have affirmed they will not proceed with provocative action against the government.

Crowds flocked to Sunday's cremation ceremony of ex-deputy House speaker and former core red-shirt member Apiwan Wiriyachai at Wat Bang Phai in Nonthaburi’s Bang Bua Thong district. Former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra presided over the event. (Photo by Thiti Wannamontha)

Party secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said Pheu Thai will adopt a "wait and see" approach and give the government the opportunity to carry out reform.

"Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra wants to see reconciliation and the country moving forward," Mr Phumtham said.

Speaking while attending the cremation of former deputy House speaker and ex-party-list Pheu Thai MP Apiwan Wiriyachai at Wat Bang Phai in Nonthaburi's Bang Bua Thong district Sunday, Mr Phumtham said the party will monitor reforms pushed by the government.

"We will make a decision on what to do after we see how the reforms go," Mr Phumtham said.

He said the appropriate way is to create unity and reconciliation in the country.

Mr Phumtham said he does not believe the changes will be designed to force Pheu Thai and Thaksin out of politics.

Pheu Thai executives and red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) leaders joined hundreds of supporters, particularly from the North and Northeast, for the cremation for Col Apiwan, also a former red-shirt core member.

Among them were former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who presided over the ceremony, and key Pheu Thai politicians Chusak Sirinil, Yongyuth Tiya-pairat, Gen Pallop Pinmanee and Suchart Thada-Thamrongvech.

UDD representatives include red-shirt chairman Jatuporn Prompan, Tida Tawornseth, Weng Tojirakarn, Wiphuthalaeng Phatthanaphumthai, Kokaew Pikulthong, Worachai Hema and Veerakan Musikapong.

Ex-prime minister Chaovalit Yongchaiyudh also attended the ceremony.

Nonthaburi police provided security and oversaw traffic, as long lines of vehicles snaked along the routes leading to the temple.

Intelligence officers were reported to have mingled among the crowd to keep an eye on the ceremony.

As Ms Yingluck was on her way back, the crowds applauded the former premier to show their support.

This was despite the master of the ceremony pleading to guests to keep calm, in honour of the deceased.

Siriwat Jupamattha, a UDD coordinator in the northern province, said red-shirt networks nationwide sent representatives to join the cremation ceremony.

"We are not planning movements against the government to the extent that Col Apiwan's cremation serves as a venue to hatch plots, as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) might think,'' Mr Siriwat said.

"The red shirts understand the time is not right to stage a move."

The NCPO and the government have set early 2016 for the next election.

The red shirts have agreed to let them work and will keep an eye on them, he said.

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