WRAPUP 4-Thai protesters hold out for dissolution date

* No sign of protesters leaving Bangkok encampment

* Red shirts object on key issue of election timing

* Thai financial markets closed for royal holiday

* King leaves hospital for a few hours to attend ceremony
(Recasts, adds market comment, CDS action)

By Jerry Lampen and Khettiya Jittapong

BANGKOK, May 5 (BestGrowthStock) – Anti-government protesters
refused to leave their fortified camp in central Bangkok on
Wednesday, saying the prime minister had to fix a date for
dissolving parliament before they would end their two-month-old
rally.

The “red shirt” protesters, who had demanded an immediate
election, have agreed to enter into a reconciliation process
proposed by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to end the crisis
but take issue with his proposed Nov. 14 poll date.

Several thousand “red shirts” remained in the camp in an
area of upmarket shopping malls and luxury hotels, many of
which have been shut for weeks, at huge cost to the economy.

“We will stay until Abhisit tells us the date of
dissolution,” said Worawut Vichaidit, one of the leaders of the
United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD).

“The government should withdrew all security forces first.
Abhisit has no right to set the election date — that’s the
duty of the Election Commission. We don’t know how much we can
trust the government,” he told the crowd from a stage.
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A state of emergency has been in force since April 7 and
thousands of troops and riot police surround the encampment,
out of sight most of the time or lounging around in small
groups.

Sirichok Sopha, a member of parliament for Abhisit’s
Democrat Party, saw the dissolution date as a non-issue and
said the government needed to study the best timing, giving
itself scope to pass the budget for the fiscal year from
October, for example.

“Regarding the election law, which states that the house
dissolution should happen 45 days to 60 days before the
election date, we can calculate that dissolution should be from
September 15 to 30, which the UDD should be able to calculate
themselves,” he told reporters.

Little movement in the peace process was likely on
Wednesday, neither side wanting to be seen as disrespectful to
Thailand’s revered monarch on Coronation Day, a public holiday.
Abhisit has to attend official functions but was thought
unlikely to speak.

Monks chanted on the stage at the “red shirt” protest camp
and offered prayers for 82-year-old King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

He has been in hospital since last September but made a
rare trip out on Wednesday for a royal ceremony, and people
lined the road to and from the Grand Palace to catch a glimpse
of him. He did not speak at the ceremony.

STOCKS MAY SLIP

Thai financial markets were closed for Coronation Day, but
on Tuesday, before the red shirt questioning of the election
date, the stock market jumped 4.4 percent (.SETI: ) to 796.86
points as investors focused on a possible end to the unrest
that has devastated tourism, hurt confidence and deterred
investment.

“The Thai market digested all the positive news on Tuesday
when the index rose more than 30 points. There is a chance of
a
correction with support at around 760-780,” said Kavee
Chukitkasem, head of research at Kasikorn Securities.

Asked about the protesters’ refusal to disperse, he said:
“It’s a negative factor hanging over the market … We expect
profit-taking the rest of this week.”

The cost of insuring Thailand’s debt against default
widened sharply to near its highest in a year (THGV5YUSAC=MG: ),
although sovereign credit default swaps elsewhere in the region
also widened in a global trend prompted by the Greek debt
crisis.

The red shirts mostly back former Prime Minister Thaksin
Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006, but more
broadly they have developed into a movement of the rural and
urban poor opposed to the power wielded by the aristocracy,
army, business elite and Bangkok middle class.

They say Abhisit came to power illegitimately in December
2008 when a pro-Thaksin administration fell after a court case
and a new coalition was formed with the prodding of the
military.

The timing of elections is the most contentious issue in
the plan floated by Abhisit on Monday to end a crisis in which
27 people were killed last month and nearly 1,000 wounded.

Analysts say both sides want to be in power in September
for a reshuffle of the powerful military and police forces, and
for the passing of the national budget.

If Thaksin’s camp prevails and is governing at the time of
the military reshuffle, analysts expect big changes including
the ousting of generals allied with Thailand’s royalist elite,
a prospect royalists fear could diminish the power of the
monarchy.

Abhisit has set five broad conditions for reconciliation
that must be agreed before any election.

The first is that the monarchy should not be dragged into
politics or “violated”. That follows government accusations
some “red shirts” aim to overthrow the monarchy, which they
deny.

The other proposals call for reforms to address social
injustice, a big red shirt grievance, an independent body to
monitor media bias, an inquiry into recent political violence
and reforms that could include constitutional amendments and a
review of a five-year ban on politicians allied with Thaksin.

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(Additional reporting by Khettiya Jittapong; Writing by Alan
Raybould; Editing by Alex Richardson)

WRAPUP 4-Thai protesters hold out for dissolution date