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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Kurdish service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs