News / Asia

Thai PM: No Delay for Elections

Anti-government protesters march to ministries and other state bodies in central Bangkok, Jan. 15, 2014.
Anti-government protesters march to ministries and other state bodies in central Bangkok, Jan. 15, 2014.
VOA News
Thailand's government annoucned today that elections will be held as planned on February 2, despite an opposition boycott and a request by the election commission to delay the vote.
 
The announcement followed a meeting between cabinet members and caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who said she has no authority to postpone the polls.
 
"I believe that the rights of the people are important. They will exercise their rights to show how they want the country's democracy to proceed," said Yingluck.
 
Main opposition leaders refused to attend the Wednesday meeting, which came on the third day of anti-government protests in Bangkok that have deepened the country's political crisis.
 
As expected, protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban dismissed the election announcement, saying a vote should not be held until reforms are made and Yingluck resigns.
 
"I don't know who was at the meeting today, but the people don't agree to hold an election under the same rules and the same laws, because such an election will allow vote-buying, vote-rigging and so it will make the election impure and unfair," said Suthep.
 
The situation may become more serious as night falls, as one of the more hardline factions of the protest movement has threatened to take over the offices of Aeronautical Radio of Thailand, which coordinates aircraft control services for domestic and international flights in Thai airspace, and the Stock Exchange of Thailand, unless Yingluck steps down by 8 pm local time. In 2008, anti-Thaksin protesters occupied both of Bangkok’s airports, damaging the country’s critical tourism industry.
 
Meanwhile, scattered reports of small-scale violence overnight threatened to raise the stakes in the political standoff.
 
Security officials reported that a man and woman suffered minor injuries in an early morning shooting near an upscale shopping district where the protesters have set up camp.
 
Authorities are also investigating a possible overnight attack on the home of prominent opposition leader and former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Police said a small explosive device, possibly a large firework, was thrown onto the property of Abhisit, causing minor damage to the roof. He was not home at the time and no one was injured.
 
The unrest threatened to change the mood of the festival-like protests, which have been well-attended but have largely failed at their goal of shutting down the capital and government business.
 
Suthep said Wednesday he will not put a timeframe on the demonstrations, vowing they will last as long as necessary in order to force Yingluck from power.
 
Yingluck has repeatedly said she has a constitutional duty to stay on as prime minister, insisting only cooperation and dialogue can resolve the country's months-long political deadlock.
 
She has already dissolved parliament, called for the early elections on February 2, and proposed the formation of a national reform council as a way to resolve the crisis.
 
Suthep has called for a non-elected "people's council" to replace the current government and implement reforms to end corruption and money politics before any new vote takes place.
 
Analysts think the prime minister's ruling Pheu Thai party is likely to win next month's snap election, which the main opposition Democrat party plans to boycott.
 
The opposition views Yingluck as a puppet of her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup, convicted of corruption and now lives in self-imposed exile.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs