Thai Government seeks military help for coming elections

Thai govt. seeks army help for elections

Fri, 27 Dec 2013 13:18:36 GMT

Thai government says it will seek military help to protect candidates and voters in the upcoming elections that have sparked anti-government rallies.

A senior Thai official said the government would ask the armed forces to help secure candidate registrations on Saturday.

“I will also ask the military to provide security protection for members of the public on the 2 February elections,” Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said in a televised address

This comes as the army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has called on both police and anti-government protesters to show restraint.

Protesters say the planned vote is pointless as premier Yingluck Shinawatra refuses to step down.

Earlier, Bangkok rejected calls to delay the February 2 . Meanwhile, in fresh clashes between protesters and police, one demonstrator has died of his wounds from a gunshot.

One police officer was also killed on Thursday when tear gas and rubber bullets were fired to prevent protesters from disrupting the electoral registrations in a sports stadium.

The developments come as such rallies have spread across the Asian nation, with demonstrators accusing the prime minister of being a puppet in the hands of her ousted powerful brother, Thaksin Shinawatra.

The anti-government campaign began last month when Bangkok tried to pass an amnesty law that could parole politically-related crimes. It could also pave the way for the return of deposed premier Thaksin.

Although the Thai senate rejected the bill to end the protests, they have now even gained momentum.

Protesters say they want to unseat Prime Minister Yingluck and have also vowed to end the influence of Thaksin’s dynasty in Thai politics.

Thaksin was toppled in a military coup seven years ago, following rallies accusing him of corruption. Since then, Thaksin has lived in a self-imposed exile to avoid a prison sentence.

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