Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has refused demand by anti-government protesters to resign, and pledge to continue to perform her duties in accordance with the constitution until a new prime minister is elected.

In a statement made after a special cabinet meeting, Yingluck called on the protesters to stop the demonstration to start preparing for the next general election slated for February 2, 2014.

On the previous night, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban asked Yingluck and cabinet ministers to resign within 24 hours. He also urged protestors to continue rallying for another three days.

The protesters demanded the establishment of a "people's council" for political reform before a new government is formed.

Meanwhile, the US State Department has expressed strong support for the democratic institutions and the democratic process in Thailand.
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki in a statement on December 9 said Washington encourages all involved to resolve political differences peacefully and democratically in a way that reflects the will of the Thai people and strengthens the rule of law.

On December10, the New Zealand government also welcomed PM Yingluck’s latest move, adding that the country has been concerned by the tensions in recent weeks and the risk of further bloodshed.-VNA