Thai PM says won't quit over flood crisis

AFP , Thursday 10 Nov 2011

Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra reveals her unwillingness to leave office despite accusations by the opposition of mismanaging the flood crisis

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, center right, cooks lunch for flood victims at a relief center in Bangkok, Thailand Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011. (Photo:AP)

Embattled Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday vowed to stay on and fight the country's deadly flood crisis despite criticism of her handling of the disaster.

"People supported and voted for me so I want to continue my work to the best of my ability," she told reporters when asked whether she was considering resigning.

The floods, triggered by months of unusually heavy rains, have killed 533 people and damaged the homes and livelihoods of millions around the country.

The waters are now slowly closing in on the heart of Bangkok, a city of 12 million people, swamping major roads and threatening the downtown area's luxury hotels, businesses and shopping malls.

Visiting a shelter for flood evacuees in Bangkok's Chatuchak district, Yingluck pleaded for understanding from the public.

"Everybody has worked to their utmost ability. It's a natural disaster which other countries also failed to prevent," she said.

"I want to ask for sympathy for all the officials who are working to fight the floodwaters, and as for me I will do my best and will listen to all suggestions."

Yingluck, a political novice and sister of fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra who only came to power in August, has been under enormous pressure to tackle the three-month-old crisis.

She has at times shown the strain and opponents have accused her of lacking leadership.

Her administration has also come under fire for its confusing information about the rising waters.

After three months in office, Yingluck's government scored an approval rating of about 48 percent, according to a nationwide survey of 1,168 people published by Bangkok University on Tuesday.

"So far she has run the country without direction or decisiveness," said Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, a spokesman for the main opposition Democrat Party, which has stopped short of calling for Yingluck's resignation.

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