- Title: THAILAND: Thaksin to call early Thai election.
- Date: 24th February 2006
- Summary: BN10) BANGKOK, THAILAND (FEBRUARY 24, 2006) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF THAI PRIME MINISTER THAKSIN SHINAWATRA LEAVING FOREIGN MINISTRY
- Embargoed: 11th March 2006 12:00
- Location: Thailand
- Country: Thailand
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA9HZ45AJGH2ZY7E4G42D5EZQ6K
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra called an election on April
2, three years early, as he launched a stunning counter-attack on Friday
(February 24) against a rapidly growing campaign to oust him.
"I dissolve parliament," he told reporters after an audience
with King Bhumibol Adulyadej. "I will explain on television
tonight," Thaksin added of an address his cabinet secretary said would
take place at 1330 GMT.
Election Commission Chairman Wassana Permlarb told reporters he had
accepted the April 2 date proposed by Thaksin, who won in a landslide a year
ago, for a vote analysts said they expected to return him to power with a
Thaksin had held out the threat of an early vote in a speech to
cheering farmers earlier on Friday, two days before opponents planned to bring
100,000 people onto the streets of Bangkok to crank up the pressure on him to
But Thaksin's announcement did not persuade his opponents to call off
Fears the demonstrations against Thaksin -- Sunday's will be the third
in a month -- could turn violent have increased as more groups joined the
The latest was the Dharma Army of Chamlong Srimuang, 70, an ascetic
former general who led a successful "people power" 1992 revolt
against the then military government in which nearly 50 people were killed. He
was Thaksin's first mentor.
The addition of the man who brought Thaksin into politics added
momentum to the campaign and increased the fears of violence.
Although Chamlong said his followers would not start anything,
businessmen are nervous and appealed to both sides to act with restraint at a
rally where riot police and water cannon will be deployed.
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