Sunday 20 April 2014

Thailand PM calls February election

Thailand's prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she would dissolve the lower house of Parliament and call elections (AP)

Thailand's government said today that a general election will be held on February 2.

The announcement came hours after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the lower house of parliament in a bid to calm the country's deepening political crisis.

Government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi told the Associated Press that the date was set during a Cabinet meeting in Bangkok.

The surprise moves came as more than 150,000 protesters vowing to overthrow Ms Yingluck's government marched peacefully through the capital's streets for a "final showdown".

Analysts said the elections are unlikely to satisfy opponents who want to rid Thailand of the influence of Ms Yingluck's powerful family. The protesters are pushing for a non-elected People's Council to replace her democratically- elected government.

Ms Yingluck had said earlier in a televised speech that she would remain in a caretaker capacity until a new prime minister is elected.

Thailand has been plagued by political turmoil since the army toppled Ms Yingluck's brother, Thaksin, in a 2006 coup.

The protesters accuse Ms Yingluck of serving as a proxy for her brother who lives in self-imposed exile in Dubai to avoid a prison sentence for a corruption conviction he says was politically motivated.


Press Association

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