UK & World News

  • 9 December 2013, 10:18

Thai Prime Minister To Dissolve Parliament

Thailand's Prime Minister has said she will dissolve parliament and hold an election, following a wave of anti-government protests.

Yingluck Shinawatrahad said an election would be held "as soon as possible" - before the country's ruling party announced she would be a candidate in the vote.

Jarupong Ruangsuwan, head of MsYingluck's Puea Thai Party, said: "She will definitely run as she has worked with the party all along.

"We dissolved parliament because we are confident.

"We want the Democrat Party to take part in elections and not to play street games."

The vote will probably be held on February 2 next year, an Election Commission official said.

Ms Yingluck said in a nationally televised speech: "After consultation with many parties, I have submitted a royal decree requesting parliament be dissolved.

"At this stage, when there are many people opposed to the government from many groups, the best way is to give back the power to the Thai people and hold an election.

"So the Thai people will decide."

The announcement came as Democratic Party politicians resigned from parliament over what it called "the illegitimacy" of the elected government.

The leader of the anti-government protesters, Suthep Thaugsuban, had called for a final demonstration today in an attempt to force Ms Yingluck out.

Mr Suthep said he would continue with the demonstration despite Ms Yingluck's dissolving of parliament and the promise of an early general election.

"Today we will continue our march to Government House," he said.

"We have not yet reached our goal. The dissolving of parliament is not our aim."

He has repeatedly said he does not want a new election, but some form of unelected "people's council" to run the country.

Protesters have been on the streets of the capital Bangkok for weeks, vowing to oust Ms Yingluck and eradicate the influence of her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The demonstrations are the latest eruption in nearly a decade of rivalry between forces aligned with the Bangkok-based establishment and those who support Mr Thaksin.

During recent days, tensions have been raised during street clashes where police have used tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets against rock-throwing demonstrators.

The unrest has left five people dead and more than 200 injured in Bangkok.

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