|Abbreviation PDRC; กปปส.|
|Legal status Defunct|
|Formation 29 October 2013 (2013-10-29)|
Extinction 24 May 2014 (2014-05-24)
Purpose Removal of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's influence on Thai politics Political reform (before election)
The People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) or People's Committee for Absolute Democracy with the King as Head of State (PCAD) (Thai: คณะกรรมการประชาชนเพื่อการเปลี่ยนแปลงประเทศไทยให้เป็นประชาธิปไตยที่สมบูรณ์ อันมีพระมหากษัตริย์ทรงเป็นประมุข, กปปส., literally "people's committee for changing Thailand into a complete democracy with the king as head of state") was an umbrella political pressure group in Thailand, aimed at removing the influence of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra from Thai politics and achieve political reforms by an unelected 'People's Council'. The group played a leading role in the 2013–14 Thai political crisis, organising large-scale protests within Bangkok.
The group was formed on 29 November 2013 by protest leader and former Democrat Party MP Suthep Thaugsuban, who appointed himself as secretary-general. The movement was supported by various organisations including the Democrat Party, the People's Alliance for Democracy (a coalition of opposition to Thaksin), student activist groups, state worker's unions and pro-military groups. The PDRC's support stemmed mostly from affluent Bangkokians and Southerners. Whistle-blowing was a central symbol of the protests.
By accusing the government of lacking any legitimacy, Suthep Thaugsuban announced the intention of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee to take back sovereign power from the government and proceed with national reform through a non-elected royalist council, in order to "eradicate" the "Thaksin regime". Suthep outlined plans for the council to "act as a legislative body, amend laws and regulations, as well as carry out a reform plan in the country". He also explained the council would have 400 members, 300 of whom would be representatives from various professions. The remaining 100 would be selected by the PDRC from scholars and well-respected senior citizens.
The ultimate goal of the PDRC was to have the prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra resign as the head of the caretaker government in order to allow a power vacuum then invoke article 3 and article 7 of the 2007 Constitution. This would have allowed the head of the senate to appoint a new premier. Yingluck and nine other senior ministers were removed from office by Constitutional Court on 7 May 2014. The military then seized power in a coup d'état on 22 May, a move which was applauded by many PDRC protesters. The PDRC was disbanded shortly after the coup.
Formation and Role in 2013-14 Political Crisis
Thai politics has been characterized by shows of popular force; mass yellow-shirt protests immediately preceded the 2006 coup, and a red-shirt rally that engulfed central Bangkok in 2010 was violently crushed with more than 80 civilians killed and around 2,000 injured. After three consecutive election victories for various Thaksin-backed political parties, the newly formed People's Democratic Reform Committee, a coalition of yellow-shirt groups that loathe the ruling Pheu Thai party decide to take their fight to the streets of Bangkok. The object of their ire is a proposed amnesty bill aimed to reconcile differences between both groups that would have pardoned Thai politicians Abhisit Vejjajiva, Suthep Thaugsuban over murder charges. However, protesters believe that it could be a backdoor attempt to allow Thaksin Shinawatra to return home after a self-imposed exile without facing a corruption conviction. After opposition from both the Democrat Party and parts of the pro-government Red Shirt movement the bill was rejected unanimously by the Senate of Thailand on 11 November.
On 20 November the Constitutional Court ruled that a government-proposed amendment to the 2007 constitution that would have made the Senate a fully elected body was invalid. Prime Minister Yingluck dissolved the Thai parliament following the recommencement of protests and announced a new election in accordance with the Thai constitution. The constitution states that elections must be held 45 to 60 days from the date that parliament is dissolved. The People's Democratic Reform Committee opposed the election announcement and stated that it would boycott the process.
Despite the private sector, military and caretaker government attempt to find a solution to the crisis, The PDRC leader said he would not negotiate with the government or the military or any mediator but he would fight until the people achieve PDRC's goal to have a royally appointed people council to conduct reform before the election to eradicate the "Thaksin regime".