Thailand holds polls in opposition strongholds
Bangkok: Polling was held peacefully today in five Thai provinces where the opposition had blocked balloting during snap polls last month, the first step to complete a controversial election that could pave way the formation of a new government.
The Election Commission said the polling was "peaceful" in the provinces.
Notably, violence erupted in Bangkok ahead and during the February 2 snap polls, boycotted by main opposition Democrat Party demanding the ouster of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
Democrat Party also has demanded an unelected People`s Council to replace the Yingluck regime.
The anti-government protesters blocked polling in several opposition stronghold provinces and in Bangkok on February 2 and during advance polling on January 26.
The poll panel was unable to announce the results of the limited polls held then as results can be announced only when polls have been held in all constituencies.
Under Thai laws, 95 per cent of the 500 seats in the lower house of parliament must be filled for a new government to be formed.
The polls came a day after demonstrators abandoned an attempted shutdown of Bangkok as part of their plans to scale down of the protests.
Earlier in the day, anti-government protesters dismantled all the rally stages at major intersections and moved to the Lumpini Park, the sprawling green lung of the Thai capital near the central business district.
Addressing the protests, rally leader and former opposition lawmaker Suthep Thaugsuban said the People`s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) would continue their struggle to overthrow the government.
However, one of the stages at an intersections near the Government House, supervised by an anti-government monk, has not been dismantled as the monk vowed to stay on.
Meanwhile, the King signed a royal decree for holding a senatorial election nationwide on March 30. Tenure?of the Upper House expires on March 2.
The number of deaths from violence linked to political unrest since November 30 has been put at 23 killed, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration`s Erawan centre said. It said a total of 768 people were injured in the violence.
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