Thai Prime Minister dissolves parliament and calls elections

Monday, December 9, 2013

File photo of Yingluck Shinawatra from 2011
Image: United States Embassy, Bangkok.

Earlier today, Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra formally dissolved the country's parliament and called for new elections. The new elections are scheduled to take place on February 2 of next year. According to CNN, it is unclear if Shinawatra will be her party's choice to as a candidate in the elections.

Yesterday, the 150 member strong Democrat Party, the country's main opposition party, said they would resign en masse because they were unable to work with the current government.

Earlier today, a protest with estimated 100,000 to 150,000 people participating promised to storm Government House of Thailand where Shinawatra's office is located. The protest included all members of the parliament's opposition parties. Democrat Party Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva told CNN, "I think the best way for the Prime Minister to show responsibility is by returning power to the people". He, other opposition leaders, and demonstrators want an unelected "people's council."

The country has had several weeks of protests leading up to Shinawatra's decision. Five people died in one protest on November 30. Demonstrators have connected Shinawatra with her brother and former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Thaskin currently lives abroad and has not returned home because of a corruption conviction that could result in a two-year prison sentence. Shinawatra's party had tried and failed to pass legislation granting amnesty to Thaksin.