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Thai Feb. 2 election to be held as scheduled

English.news.cn   2014-01-28 20:25:14

BANGKOK, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Thai caretaker government has decided that the Feb. 2 general election would be held as scheduled, deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana said Tuesday.

The government will be able to tackle all the problems concerning the election and to postpone it will not be the solution, Phongthep said at a press conference held following a meeting between caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Election Commission (EC) members.

The EC did not agree with the decision but it would still do its best to organize the election, Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn said at the press conference.

If the Feb. 2 goes ahead as planned, the first meeting of the new House of Representatives will be delayed for three or four months, Somchai said.

New elections would have to be held in late February for 83 constituencies, where advance voting was disrupted by anti- government protesters on Sunday, he said.

Votes collected from the rescheduled elections for these constituencies will be counted with those on the Feb. 2 election, which accounts for the delay in the convening of the House, according to Somchai.

Yingluck and several of her cabinet members met with the EC members at the Army Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit road in the capital while police successfully barred protesters from invading into the building. At one instant, a protester was wounded by a gunshot while a suspected assailant was injured by other protesters.

"Since the advance voting in 66 provinces was recently held without electoral problems and only 10 others and Bangkok had problems, the general election should be held as scheduled on February 2," Yingluck said during the meeting.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) on Tuesday decided to set up a panel to launch an impeachment probe against Yingluck for alleged negligence of duty in the rice-pledging scheme. Yingluck has served as the chairperson of the National Rice Policy Committee.

On Jan. 16, the NACC agreed to investigate the role of Yingluck in the rice pledging scheme after bringing formal corruption charges against 15 people including former Commerce Minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and former deputy Commerce Minister Poom Sarapol.

The Thai government started buying rice from farmers at above- market prices in 2011 to shore up rural incomes, fulfilling a campaign pledge by the Pheu Thai Party, which won a parliamentary majority that year.

The scheme has spurred the buildup of record reserves and helped to dethrone the country as the world's largest exporter.

Editor: Shen Qing
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