Thaksin Shinawatra, ending a campaign foray in his stronghold in the north, said agencies involved in the election should push for it to happen on time, but the government was ready to postpone it if they could not.

"If it is necessary to push it back, I will do it," Thaksin said, two days after the senate gave itself 20 days to select new election commissioners.

But he said there would be a postponement "only if there is a full co-operation among all parties" and there was "no hidden agenda", in the senate's selection of a new election commission.

That has become the focus of a long political row that began late last year with a street campaign to oust Thaksin, accused of corruption and abuse of power, which he denies.

Landslides

The senate had to choose a new election commission after its three remaining members were jailed for four years last month for abuses during a general election in April, later declared invalid, that Thaksin had called to counter the street campaign.

The opposition wants the election re-run postponed by at least a month to give the new election commission time to revamp the agency to ensure a free and fair poll.

Thaksin, twice winner by landslides, is expected to win the election, but with a reduced majority.
  
Thaksin is head of a caretaker government unable to make major policy decisions or draw up a budget. He declined to say whether he would remain prime minister after the election.
   
"If the country thinks it can still gain from me, I am ready to perform my duty. But if it sees no more use in me, and wants another person who can do a better job, that's OK by me," he said.