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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        5  February 2011

Thailand may have April election

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Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva began his re-election campaign early on Friday. It has been speculated the premier will dissolve the House in April after parliament passes important legislation.

He said parties aspiring to form the next government must declare their policies to the people. If they do not want to continue his government's policies, they should say so now. "If they don't want the welfare system or to run people-centred policies, they must tell the people what they will do [instead]," said Mr. Abhisit.

It was only fair that voters were given the chance to study those who hope to run in the next polls, he said.

The premier indicated this year would be eventful with the general elections to be held and renewed political unrest to overcome.

He added there was a pressing need for the government to sustain the rule of law and maintain political stability to keep the country from becoming a "failed state". The conflicts of opinions echoed by various groups and movements must be settled through democratic means, he said.

Mr. Abhisit added that differences of opinion must be accepted and not cause conflicts. What he wanted to see was proper change to the rules of the game brought about by amending the constitution.

"I don't intend to stay on and complete my tenure," said the prime minister. "When the time is right and a general election can be peacefully held, this government is ready to step down and return the power to the people. This year is the last year of this government." However, Mr Abhisit added: "We haven't yet finished our work. We want to do more," he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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