BANGKOK—Thailand’s prime minister announced Monday she will dissolve the lower house of Parliament and call elections in an attempt to calm the country’s deepening political crisis. The surprise move came as 100,000 protesters vowing to overthrow her government stuck to their original plan and marched through the streets of Bangkok for a “final showdown.” Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s appeared emotional and her voice shook as she spoke in a nationally televised address Monday morning. “After listening to opinions from all sides, I have decided to request a royal decree to dissolve Parliament,” Yingluck said, breaking into regular programing. “There will be new elections according to the democratic system.” She said the Election Commission would set a date “as soon as possible.” … [Read more...] about Thailand’s PM dissolves Parliament, calls elections
BANGKOK—Aggressive political protests in the Thai capital turned violent late Saturday with at least one man killed and five wounded by gunshots in street fighting between supporters and opponents of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. It was not immediately known who fired the shots or what side the victims were on. National Police deputy spokesman Anucha Romyanan said the dead man was a 21-year-old male with two bullet wounds. In the short run, the violence may stir fears of further instability like that which plagued the country during related political conflicts in 2006, 2008 and 2010. Any escalation of violence is likely to scare away tourists who come to Thailand by the millions and contribute a huge chunk to the economy. But it may help the government by undermining the claims of its opponents to be carrying out a nonviolent campaign of civil disobedience. The violence is likely to scare away some supporters who would otherwise attend the opposition’s rallies. … [Read more...] about Thailand: One killed, at least 5 wounded in political violence
BANGKOK—Sometimes you never know when the opportunity for an interesting selfie will present itself. When Thailand’s military declared martial law early Tuesday, troops appeared on the streets at some key intersections in Bangkok. That didn’t necessarily mean the situation was tense, however. Bangkok residents going about their morning routine didn’t hesitate to stop and snap a few photos on their smartphones. Some posed with soldiers, who complied amiably. Others, like these two young women, did what their counterparts all around the world do millions of times a day: grab a selfie. Except their photo was with the soldiers and their guns and equipment sitting close behind. … [Read more...] about Martial law in Thailand? For some citizens, time for a selfie!
BANGKOK — Thailand’s parliament elected Yingluck Shinawatra as the country’s first female prime minister on Friday after the political novice won the support of more than half of the lawmakers in a televised vote, according to Reuters calculations. The 44-year-old businesswoman, who was unopposed, won the 251 votes required to follow in the footsteps of her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, a billionaire overthrown in a 2006 coup and now living in self-imposed exile. The voting continued in the 500-member parliament. Yingluck, whose political career began only 11 weeks ago, must wait for endorsement by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which could come as early as Friday evening, before she officially takes up her post. The former president of property firm SC Asset Corp steered the opposition Puea Thai Party to a landslide election victory on July 3, winning 265 of the seats in parliament. … [Read more...] about Thailand elects first female prime minister
BANGKOK—Ousted members of Thailand’s former government surrendered to the new military junta Friday, as soldiers forcefully dispersed hundreds of anti-coup activists who defied a ban on large-scale gatherings to protest the army’s seizure of power. Troops detained at least two activists during the protest in downtown Bangkok, which descended into scuffles but ended without injury and marked one of the first open challenges to the military since Thursday’s coup. The junta, though, remained firmly in charge, summoning more than 100 top political figures — the entire ousted government, their associates and a handful of their opponents. It also banned those on its wanted list from leaving the country. Read more on thestar.com: Why Thailand’s political turmoil is significant … [Read more...] about Thailand’s military junta holding former PM