News / Asia

Thailand National Elections Planned for Later This Year

Anti-government 'red shirt' rally in Bangkok (File Photo)
Anti-government 'red shirt' rally in Bangkok (File Photo)

Thailand's  prime minister says the government may hold a general election later this year.  The vote would be seen as a test of the country’s volatile democratic tradition.  

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, the leader of the governing Democrat Party, says he is aiming to hold elections near mid-year, six months ahead of the parliament’s four year term.

The call for an election follows recent constitutional changes by parliament allowing single parliamentary constituency seats, rather than proportional representation.  The move is expected to favor the Democrat Party.

Overall, voters will elect 375 members for seats in parliament, and a further 125 members nominated by political parties to make up a 500-member House of Representatives.

Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn says parliament needs to pass legislation reflecting the constitutional changes before Abhisit dissolves parliament.

"The Prime Minister laid down a plan to submit a request to His Majesty the King to dissolve the House in May - beginning of May," he said. "But in the period before May the Election Commission will work out the details of getting rules, regulations and the law - three major laws submitted to the Parliament. After that, the Election Commission will together look into the possible dates between 45 and 60 days of the election date."

At the last election in 2007, parties aligned with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra won a majority of seats. Thaksin was ousted in a 2006 coup. He later faced corruption charges and was sentenced to two years in prison. He fled the country before the verdict was handed down.

Pro-royalist protests, as well as court rulings against successive pro-Thaksin governments, led to Abhisit’s appointment as prime minister in December 2008.

Anti-government protests against Abhisit’s administration followed. Protesters accuse the government of lacking legitimacy, due to being backed by the military and bureaucracy. The government has denied this charge.  

Anti-government protests in 2009 and 2010 were led by the pro-Thaksin United Democratic Front for Democracy known as the ‘red shirts’.

Weekend rallies marked the anniversary of last year’s two months of protests that left more than 90 deaths and hundreds injured.

A red-shirt leader released on bail from nine months in prison on terrorism charges,Weng Tojirakarn, says he welcomes an election. But Weng says the Democrat Party known as ‘Phak Prachathipat’, should also accept the result if the Puea Thai Party wins.  

"We welcome the general election because it is a very important step in the general democracy and we will respect the result of the political decision of the people, whatever the political party win," he said. "The Phak Prachathipat and the power outside the constitution must also respect, the bureaucrat system must respect, the political decision of the people if in case Puea Thai win."

But analysts fear the election will be volatile, and possibly violent, in one of the hardest fought campaigns Thailand has witnessed in recent years.  Initial reports of public opinion have  put the pro-Thaksin Puea Thai Party ahead in a closely fought election.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid