Wednesday, 21 August, 2019

Thai Election Commission asks for poll delay after clashes

Anti-government protesters clash with riot police at the gate of the gymnasium where candidates are due to register for the upcoming elections during a rally at the Thai-Japan youth stadium in Bangkok December 25,   2013. REUTERS/Athit PerawongmethaBy Apornrath Phoonphongphiphat BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand's Election Commission (EC) called for a February poll to be postponed on Thursday after bloody clashes between riot police and anti-government protesters seeking to topple Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and scuttle the ballot. Hours after the unrest started, the EC issued a statement recommending the government postpone the vote until all sides supported it, an unlikely scenario given that Yingluck's Puea Thai Party is almost certain to win. The EC's request is a setback for Yingluck as she seeks to renew her mandate in the face of demonstrations by a group calling for a suspension of Thailand's fragile democracy, which they say has been subverted by her influential, self-exiled brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra. The clashes are also a big blow to Yingluck, who had ordered police to act with restraint, fearing opponents would stir chaos intentionally to weaken the government and trigger an intervention, either by the military or judiciary.

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