No early elections until violence ends: Thai PM

Posted By: Staff
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Bangkok, May 24 (ANI): Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday that only after violence and protests by anti-government activists end completely, would any move be made for an election.

"It is now entirely up to me to see when is the most appropriate time to hold the election. At the moment, no one can tell when is the best time. We don't know what will happen next. There are some people still talking about continuing their fight and to hold a protest in June. We will have to see what happens first" before thinking of elections," The China Daily quoted Vejjajiva, as saying.

Vejjajiva's comments indicate that he will continue to take a tough line against the Red Shirt protesters and will not make a grand gesture of announcing immediate elections to heal the rift, as some had expected.

Under Thai law, Abhisit is not obligated to hold new polls until December 2011.

Bangkok was gripped with its worst political violence in decades during the Red Shirt occupation of a downtown commercial district.

The standoff was ended by a military crackdown. At least 16 people were killed in the final offensive Wednesday and more than 100 were wounded. Another 69 died and more than 1,300 injured in previous clashes. Most of the dead were protesters shot by troops.

A majority of Red Shirt protesters are from the impoverished rural north and northeast, who say the Oxford-educated Abhisit and his government is elitist and came to power illegitimately.

They claimed that they are fighting for democracy and want immediate dissolution of parliament and new elections. (ANI)

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