Thailand to hold fresh elections on Feb 2 as PM dissolves parliament

Eurasia News

Thailand to hold fresh elections on Feb 2 as PM dissolves parliament

BANGKOK: In an attempt to calm the deepening political crisis in Thailand, the country’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday announced the dissolution of the lower house of Parliament and proposed fresh elections be held on February 2, Dispatch News Desk reported.

Her announcement came a day after the main opposition party lawmakers resigned from the Parliament in protest against the government.

The Thai government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi said that the date was proposed during a cabinet meeting in Bangkok on Monday. Thailand’s Election Commission must formally approve the date.

A spokeswoman for commission, Jinthong Intarasri, said electoral officials will meet with the government in the next few days to discuss it.

Earlier in the day, in a televised address to the nation, Shinawatra said that the government does not want any loss of life.

Shinawatra said that at this stage, when there are many people opposed to the government from many groups, the best way is to give back the power to the Thai people and hold an election, adding that it’s time for the Thai people to decide.

The Thai premier appointed herself as interim prime minister and said that elections will be held as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, thousands of anti-government protesters led by Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy premier under the previous military-backed government, began marching to the premier’s office on Monday morning.

In a statement, Suthep Thaugsuban said that he will not end his demonstrations and will continue a march to Yingluck Shinawatra’s offices at Government House.

The protest leader said that we have not yet reached our goal. He said that the dissolving of parliament is not our aim.

At least five people have been killed and at least 289 injured since the latest unrest began last month, aiming to topple the government of Yingluck Shinawatra.

The anti-government protesters accuse Yingluck Shinawatra-led government of being a proxy of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, the elder brother of current PM Shinawatra.

The government came under more criticism when it tried to pass an amnesty bill last month which would pave the way for the Thaksin Shinawatra, ousted in 2006 by the military and in self-exile in Dubai, to return without facing any trial.