The Thai government led by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is pressing ahead with nationwide elections on February 2, despite a boycott by the main opposition Democrat Party. Street protests are expected to increase as demonstrators demand the polls be delayed. Thailand’s ruling Pheu Thai Party hopes the February elections return them to office with an even bigger majority. The campaign slogan “Respect My Vote” is a rebuttal to the anti-government demonstrators who succeeded in blocking candidates from registering in 28 districts. Nevertheless, the party is widely expected to regain its majority in parliament, partly because of populist policies that have benefited its backers, especially in northern rural areas.
In the capital however, tens of thousands of mainly urban middle class Thais are hoping to stop the polls by occupying key parts of the city.
Suranand Vejjajiva, secretary general to the prime minister, says holding the polls will ensure Thai democracy moves forward.
“If there’s no election I think conflict and confrontation will intensify and it could lead to more violence which I don’t think anyone in Thailand or even in the international community would like to see,” he said.
Full Article: Thailand Braces for Protests Ahead of February Election.