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Home >> World
UPDATED: 10:49, February 25, 2006
Thailand sets date for parliamentary election
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Thailand said new parliamentary polls will be held on April 2 after Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced a House dissolution earlier Friday.

The new election will be held in Thailand on April 2, a royal decree said after the prime minister dissolved the lower House and opened the way for snap polls.

The royal decree readout on national television said that elections are necessary to prevent the tense political situation from worsening and when a difference in opinion sparks political divisiveness. Returning the political power to the people through a new election is the common way out in democratic societies, it added.

Amid mounting public calls for Thaksin to step down over the alleged wrongdoings, the prime minister on Friday afternoon met Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej and made a surprising announcement to dissolve the House.

In a national address broadcast live on television, Thaksin hinted he would lead his party in snap election slated for April 2.

"I will accept whatever the peoples' decision is," said the prime minister.

However, political analysts said even if the ruling Thai Rak Thai party claims victory in the April 2 election, it could still fail to extinguish the controversy and legitimacy problem of Thaksin's leadership.

Some opposition leaders insist that they would go on with the anti-Thaksin movement until the prime minister resigns, arguing that dissolving the House and holding new election could not solve Thaksin's problems.

On Feb. 4, some 50,000 people attended an anti-Thaksin rally in the capital, the biggest demonstration since Thaksin came into office in 2001. It was followed by the second anti-government gathering a week later with the participation of 20,000 protestors.

The oppponsition planned another rally on Feb. 26 which the government officials believe may draw some 100,000 participants and worry it could arise violence.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's administration has been thrown into uncertainty over the recent weeks amid growing public outcry for the prime minister to resign following his opponents censured his family of selling its controlling stake in telecom giant Shin Corp. to Singapore's state-owned investment company in January.

The prime minister said his family sold the stake in a bid to avoid conflict-of-interest accusations, while critics blamed him for corruption, abuse of power and manipulation of laws.

Source: Xinhua

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