Bangkok: Thailand will hold a general election
in the first half of this year if there is no fresh political
violence, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Wednesday.
"My government will not complete its term at the end of
2011 but will organise elections in the first half of this
year if it resolves three issues," he told a forum of
investors in Bangkok, according to a statement released by his
office. The event was closed to the media.
He said two of these, a strong economy and constitutional
amendment appeared to have been fulfilled, so the last
remaining condition was that any election must be held in
The British-born, Oxford-educated head of the
establishment Democrat Party must dissolve parliament by the
end of this year for polls.
He has previously said the elections could take place
early in 2011 if the security situation improved.
Mass protests in April and May of last year by the
"Red Shirt" movement, which is broadly loyal to fugitive
former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, left 90 people dead in
street clashes between demonstrators and the army.
The Reds, who where campaigning for immediate
elections, have held a series of peaceful one-day rallies in
the capital in recent weeks.