Thailand general elections to be held in July

Prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and election commission agree to July 20th date

 Thai caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at a meeting with Election Commission officials at Royal Thai Air Force Academy in Bangkok on Wednesday. Photograph: Reuters

Thai caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at a meeting with Election Commission officials at Royal Thai Air Force Academy in Bangkok on Wednesday. Photograph: Reuters

Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 16:41

Thailand’s election commission and the prime minister agreed yesterday to hold a general election in July, but anti-government protesters who disrupted a vote in February said they still wanted to see electoral reforms first.

The protesters have been trying to oust Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra since November, part of a long-running crisis that broadly pits Bangkok’s middle class and royalist establishment against the mainly poor, rural supporters of Ms Yingluck and her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

“The prime minister and the election commission agree on a July 20th election,” said Puchong Nutrawong, secretary general of the commission.

He said the commission would ask the government to issue a royal decree and get the king’s endorsement.

The cabinet, which must also sign off on an election, will probably consider the decree next week. The opposition Democrat Party, which boycotted the vote in February, was noncommittal about its participation in a new election.

The aim of the protesters is to eliminate the influence of Mr Thaksin. His enemies say he is a corrupt capitalist.

He denies corruption and lives in exile to avoid a jail sentence. – (Reuters)