- POSTED: 15 Jan 2014 23:24
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Thailand's general election will go ahead as scheduled on February 2 as the caretaker government and the Election Commission (EC) have no authority to postpone it, said caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday.
BANGKOK -- Thailand's general election will go ahead as scheduled on February 2 as the caretaker government and the Election Commission (EC) have no authority to postpone it, said caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Wednesday.
The decision was agreed to by the majority of the representatives of political parties, government, academics and the military after a two-and-half-hour meeting to consider a suggestion from the EC to postpone the election, she said.
The meeting at the Royal Thai Air Force headquarters in Bangkok earlier Wednesday was notable for the absence of two other major players in the current political chaos, namely the Democrat Party which is the main opposition party which is boycotting the election, and the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) which is currently heading the street protests to force the resignation of Yingluck and the postponement of the election.
The EC wanted the election to be postponed because of problems at some polling stations, but the majority of the political parties' representatives on Wednesday called on the EC to do its duty to ensure the election would go ahead.
The EC pointed out that there were problems at 24 polling stations in 15 provinces in the south.
There were no local staff who dared to work at the polling stations because they were afraid of the strong opposition to the election from the protesters in those areas, said EC secretary-general Phuchong Nutrawong.
"In many provinces (the 15 provinces in southern Thailand), there is not even one staff to do work at the polling station," he told those who attended the meeting on the difficulties faced by the EC to run the election smoothly.
Meanwhile, the permanent secretary of the defence ministry, General Nipat Thonglek, assured that the military were ready to support the EC in terms of staff, places and equipment for the general election.
Meanwhile, the protesters continued their protests and expected an escalation of action in order to step up the pressure in the coming days.
The hardline Students and People Network for Thailand's Reform has already announced a plan to block the Stock Exchange of Thailand and the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand office if Yingluck does not step down.
If they follow through on their word to block the Aeronautical Radio of Thailand office, it will disrupt domestic and international flights as well as any aircraft flying through Thailand's air space.