Thailand will hold snap elections on February 2 after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra announced Monday she is dissolving parliament. This follows more than a month of anti-government protests in the capital, Bangkok.
The Thai leader said in a televised address Monday that she will leave it up to the people to decide the future of the country.
The king later issued a decree setting the date for the new elections.
However, opposition Democratic Party leader Suthep Thaungsuban says he will not end the demonstrations until Ms. Yingluck resigns and turns over the seat of government to an unelected "people's council." Police say more than 140,000 protesters surrounded Government House on Monday.
Ms. Yingluck says her Cabinet will remain intact, although with limited powers, and she will stay on as caretaker prime minister. Her party says she will run in the new elections.
Opposition lawmakers resigned from parliament en masse on Sunday.
At least four people have been killed and many wounded in recent protests. The demonstrations were triggered several weeks ago by an amnesty bill that would have allowed former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to return home and avoid a two-year jail term for corruption.
The Senate rejected the bill but protests have continued.
Mr. Thaksin, Prime Minister Yingluck's billionaire brother, was ousted in a 2006 military coup.
The conflict pits Bangkok's urban middle class and royalist elite against the mostly poor, rural supporters of Ms. Yingluck and Mr. Thaksin.