Connect to share and comment

Thai PM agrees to discuss with election body on election postponement


Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will meet with the members of the Election Commission early next week to discuss a possible rescheduling of the general election set for Feb. 2, a senior government official said Saturday.

The Constitutional Court ruled Friday that the general election can be rescheduled if the government accepts the Election Commission's recommendation that it be postponed.

Suranand Vejjajiva, secretary general to the Thai prime minister, told reporters that Yingluck will hold talks with the Election Commission on Tuesday and has asked legal experts in the ruling party to study the implications of the Constitutional Court's ruling.

The Election Commission went to the Constitutional Court after the Yingluck government rejected its recommendation to reschedule the election.

The commission said Saturday it will propose that the government reschedule the election on grounds of unrest in the southern provinces and potential violence if the general election is held as scheduled.

The commission said it will organize advance balloting on Sunday as initially scheduled despite opposition by government protesters, who began blocking polling stations in the southern provinces Saturday.

The Constitutional Court ruled that after election dates have been set, they can be rescheduled if situations arise that could affect the country's security and stability.

Rescheduling the general election alone, however, is unlikely to ease the current political crisis as antigovernment protesters have demanded that Yingluck step down.

On Saturday, protesters led by former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban pressed on with their street campaign in Bangkok despite an emergency decree the government invoked earlier this week.

At least nine people have been killed and more than 500 injured by gunfire and bomb attacks since political violence started in November after the lower house of parliament passed an amnesty bill that appeared aimed at benefiting ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The bill was later voted down in the Senate.

Thaksin, Yingluck's older brother, was toppled in a 2006 military coup and fled the country two years later to avoid prison after being convicted of corruption and other charges.