Thailand protests: Yingluck Shinawatra dissolves Parliament, calls elections

Speaking in a televised address on Sunday, Shinawatra said that she had decided to "give back the power to the Thai people".

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Bangkok: Ignoring Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra`s act of dissolving the Parliament and calling fresh elections, tens of thousands of protesters continued with the demonstartions and thronged the Government House even as the Thailand government announced that it had proposed Feb 2 as the date for next elections, reports said.

Soon after the PM dissolved the Parliament, government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi told The Associated Press that the date of Feb 2 was proposed during a Cabinet meeting in Bangkok.

However, the date now needs to be approved by the country`s election commission.

After a fortnight of persistent protests aimed at toppling her government, the Thai PM dissolved the Parliament and chose to call fresh elections.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of demonstrators whistling and waving flags and anti-Thaksin banners converged on key government offices in what they called as the final showdown.

Speaking in a televised address on Sunday, Shinawatra said that given the opinion of many groups who are opposed to the government, she had decided to "give back the power to the Thai people".
"After listening to opinions from all sides, I have decided to request a royal decree to dissolve Parliament…There will be new elections according to the democratic system," she said.

"Now, when there are many people opposed to the government, the best way is to and hold an election…So the Thai people will decide," she added.

Shinawatra`s announcement came after all the opposition MPs resigned on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the anti-government rallies continued with the protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban vowing to continue the fight to "uproot the Thaksin regime".

Also, the anti-government protesters planned to march to the Government House on Monday.

Reacting to the PM`s latest moves, the protest leader said that the movement will continue and the Thaksin regime will "go home empty-handed".

"Although the House is dissolved and there will be new elections, the Thaksin regime is still in place," he said.

Suthep`s followers have been rallying for more than a couple of weeks now and they have been occupying the Finance Ministry and other key government headquarters.

The protest that started last month grew violent when the stone-pelting protesters tried to barge into the government house and were treated to tear gas and water cannon firing from the police.

The protesters had decided to halt the demonstrations last week in wake of the 86th birthday of their revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

However, the peaceful episode in Thailand did not last long with the protesters coming back to rally.

Five people have died in the protests and the demonstrations are said to be the biggest since that of 2010 when 90 people had been killed.

The protesters allege that the current government is being run as a puppet regime by PM`s brother Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin Shinawatra, who is now in a self-imposed exile, was ousted in 2006 in a coup after being accused of corruption and abuse of power.

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