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Thai Polls Open in Snap Election Boycotted by Opposition

In Thailand, polls have opened in what is being called a referendum on the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The prime minister called the elections three years early amid mass demonstrations in which protesters accuse his government of corruption and abuse of office.

Thai voters are going to the polls Sunday to try to resolve a standoff that has deeply divided their society.

For months, protesters have staged mass rallies calling for Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to resign. He has refused, saying the majority of the people still support him.

Chulalongkorn University Professor Thitinan Pongsuthirak says this election is not likely to end the deadlock. "We're headed for a certain, certain, heightened political crisis, but also a certain constitutional crisis," he said.

He says the protests will not stop. And because of a boycott by the opposition, some parliamentary seats will not be filled. As a result, it may be some time before the new parliament can convene, further heightening the uncertainties.