Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra held fast to her line that fresh elections on Feb. 2 are the best way of resolving the country’s political impasse Friday as mass demonstrations against her government continued for the fifth consecutive day. Speaking to reporters at a defense ministry facility in the northern edges of Bangkok, Ms. Yingluck said she is obliged to ensure the elections go ahead as planned after dissolving parliament last month, and that the country’s security forces are on standby to prevent any violence as the polls approach. “This is the democratic process,” she said. The Thai leader has come under mounting pressure to quit in recent weeks. On Jan. 13, tens of thousands of demonstrators began converging on the capital in a mass protest they call the ‘Bangkok Shutdown,’ to press her to step aside and allow an unelected council to enact a series of reforms to strengthen the country’s system of democratic checks and balances. The protesters’ leader, former deputy prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban, accuses Ms. Yingluck of acting as a proxy for her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006.
Among other things, Mr. Suthep says Ms. Yingluck’s Pheu Thai Party attempted to ram through a sweeping amnesty proposal that would enable her brother to return to Thailand from his self-imposed exile without serving any prison time for a corruption conviction which he says was politically motivated.
Ms. Yingluck dissolved Parliament on Dec. 9, hoping to ease the building tension. But the protests continued and intensified after the opposition Democrat Party boycotted the vote and demonstrators allied with Mr. Suthep disrupted the registration of election candidates.
Full Article: Thai Premier Sticks With Feb. 2 Election Plan – WSJ.com.