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Thai parties fail to agree on new elections

Talks on a roadmap to elections end with no breakthrough after the opposition withdraw.

Last updated: 22 Apr 2014 22:33
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PM Yingluck Shinawatra has been embroiled in accusations of corruption and may be ordered to step down [Reuters]

Thailand's political impasse has been met with continued obstacles after talks called by the country's Election Commission (EC) to draw a roadmap towards elections ended with no breakthrough after the opposition withdrew at the last minute.

Tuesday’s meetings between Prime Minister Yingluck’s party and rival groups ended with no solution after the opposition party pulled out, leaving the kingdom to continue without a fully functioning government or parliament since December.

The EC called for talks to discuss a new election date with political rivals including the main opposition Democrat Party, which boycotted the last round of voting.

I will not attend the meeting because of security... No one from the Democrats will attend.

- Abhisit Vejjajiva, Democrat Party leader 

"I will not attend the meeting because of security," Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva told news agency AFP, without specifying the nature of the concerns.

Representatives from more than 50 other political parties joined the talks, according to election officials.

During talks, election officials proposed three possible voting dates of July 20, August 17 or September 14 but have been accused of wanting to stall elections. The EC, which has in the past been accused of siding with the opposition, says it needs several months to organise new polls, leaving the country in legislative limbo.

Power grab

The talks come as PM Yingluck, who won by a landslide election victory in 2011, could be ordered to step down within weeks after accusations of corruption.

Thailand's first female prime minister is accused of the alleged improper transfer of a top civil servant as well as dereliction of duty linked to a loss-making rice subsidy scheme.

Her supporters see the moves as an attempted power grab.

The backdrop is an eight-year struggle between a royalist establishment - backed by parts of the judiciary and the military - and Yingluck's family, which has traditionally recieved strong support in the northern half of Thailand.

Yingluck's "Red Shirt" supporters have vowed to take to the streets again to defend her administration, raising fears of a bloody new chapter in Thailand's long political crisis.

Mass protests by the Red Shirts in 2010 triggered a military crackdown under Abhisit's government that left dozens dead.

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Source:
Agencies
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