Thai opposition to boycott voting as prime minister calls for reform

Dec. 21, 2013 at 9:09 AM   |   0 comments

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BANGKOK, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Thailand's caretaker prime minister has called on all political parties to participate in February elections, promising that reforms will follow.

The announcement was met by a pledge by opposition parties to boycott the balloting, the Bangkok Post reported Saturday.

Speaking on national television, Yingluck Shinawatra said, "many ideas have been proposed at national reform forums and the government agrees that it is important for the reforms to cover political, economic and social dimensions. We're ready to cooperate and promote reforms that are truly constructive and beneficial to the people."

However, she said elections must be held first, saying a new legislature would "place national reform on the national agenda."

Yingluck set out a three-step process for reform that required candidates to sign an agreement they would set up a national reform council once elected. The council would be comprised of leaders from various professions, institutions and political parties.

The council would propose reforms during its two years of existence.

Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the main opposition Democrat Party, rejected the proposal and said his party would boycott the election, the BBC reported.

"Thai politics is at a failed stage," Abhisit charged. "The Thai people have lost their faith in the democratic system."

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