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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid