Thai PM Yingluck Shinawatra dissolves Parliament, fresh elections by February 2
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Thailand's beleaguered Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday dissolved parliament and called a snap polls, even as thousands of protesters took to the streets to install a "People's Council" to run the country.
"After listening to opinions from all sides, I have decided to request a royal decree to dissolve Parliament," Yingluck said in a televised address.
"There will be new elections according to the democratic system," said the 46-year-old prime minister who came to power in 2011.
Election Commission (EC) member Sodsri Sattayatham said a general election to elect the 500-seat lower house will be held within 60 days, or before February 2, 2014. Under Thai election law, fresh polls must take place in the next 60 days.
However, anti-government protesters, who have been calling for Yingluck's government to be replaced with an unelected "People's Council", said the rallies will continue.
Protesters accuse the prime minister of acting as a proxy for her fugitive brother and former premier Thaksin Shinwatra.
Suthep Thaugsuban, the top leader of the anti-government protests, said demonstrators would "blow the final whistle" today in an attempt to uproot the "Thaksin influence" from the country.
Over one lakh protesters besieged Government House this morning, prompting the authorities to cancel a plan to invite foreign diplomats to observe the situation there.
Yingluck today said she will remain the head of the interim government. "The situation seems likely to escalate to violence so the government has decided to return power to the people and let them decide through elections," she said.
However, protest leaders Satit Wongnongtaey and Tavorn Senieum demanded her resignation following House dissolution.
Satit told protesters that House dissolution was only the first victory but was not enough for achieving real democracy.
He said the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee led-by Suthep wants the "People's Council" to be formed and the caretaker cabinet to resign.
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