News / Asia

Thai February Polls to Go Ahead Despite Protests

A motorcyclist rides past an election campaign poster of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, featuring a portrait of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in central Bangkok on January 3, 2014.
A motorcyclist rides past an election campaign poster of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, featuring a portrait of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in central Bangkok on January 3, 2014.
Ron Corben
Thailand's election commission says it will go ahead with nationwide elections on February 2, despite worries over security as anti-government protestors vow to shut-down Bangkok starting January 13.
 
The commission held talks with key political parties, including the governing Pheu Thai Party and opposition Democrat Party, which is boycotting the vote, before it made its announcement.
 
While anti-government protesters succeeded in largely blocking candidates registering in southern provinces, a stronghold of the opposition Democrat Party, elsewhere a total of 642 candidates applied to contest the poll.
 
The election commission says the 123 candidates who were unable to register because they were blocked by protesters must petition the Supreme Court to be included on the ballots.
 
Prasaeng Mongkonsiri, an advisor to the Democratic Force Party, one of 50 parties on the ballot, thinks the election commission is right to go ahead. Following the tumultuous political events of the past months, Prasaeng said the governing Pheu Thai may be forced into a coalition government. 
 
"The best way is continuing the election," Mongkonsiri said. "We should go through the election and don't worry about the result of the election. Probably Pheu Thai Party might not be the first runner. It's possible medium [sized] party might be the first runner of this election."

Anti-government protester looks at pictures taken during clashes with police during a rally in Bangkok on Dec. 29, 2013.Anti-government protester looks at pictures taken during clashes with police during a rally in Bangkok on Dec. 29, 2013.
x
Anti-government protester looks at pictures taken during clashes with police during a rally in Bangkok on Dec. 29, 2013.
Anti-government protester looks at pictures taken during clashes with police during a rally in Bangkok on Dec. 29, 2013.
Anti-government protesters have been demanding that the vote be delayed, that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra step aside, and that a new non-elected council be appointed to make political reforms. Yingluck has refused to step down, but has said a reform council could be set up following the February vote.
 
The anti-government protest movement led by a former lawmaker, Suthep Thangsuban, said it plans to shutdown key areas of the capital, Bangkok from January 13 in its bid to force the government to resign.
 
But pro-government supporters, led by the United Democratic Front Against Dictatorship, also known as Red Shirts, say they will go ahead with counter demonstrations, leading to fears of clashes.
 
Friday, the head of the Thailand's National Security Council said Thai Armed forces are willing to step in to assist Thai police to ensure peace and order in Bangkok.  
 
Titipol Phakdeewanich, a political scientist at the University of Ubon Ratchathani, in the north east, said there is support for the election, including from some supporters of the Democrat Party led by Abhisit Vejajjiva, who wish to protect their voting rights.
 
"It's quite surprising to hear that those who are supporting [Democrat Party leader] Abhisit also want to go to the polls on the second [of February]," he said.  "But the reason that they want to go is because they want to protect their rights - so they will vote 'no.'"
 
Thailand’s political unrest began late last year when the government proposed a far-reaching amnesty bill that could have paved the way for the return of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The bill failed to pass, but sparked a wave of protests in Bangkok that caused the prime minister to dissolve the government and call for early elections.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
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.

VOA Blogs