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Thai general election kicks off amid fears of violence

English.news.cn   2014-02-02 09:14:10

Thailand caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (R) casts her vote at a polling station near her residence in Bangkok, capital of Thailand, Feb. 2, 2014. By 10 a.m. local time Sunday, voting had been proceeding at 333 constituencies in 68 Thai provinces, while 42 constituencies in nine provinces had canceled polling, the Election Commission said. (Xinhua/Gao Jianjun)

Photos >> Thai caretaker PM casts vote

Photos >> Thai general election kicks off

BANGKOK, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Thailand's general election kicked off at 8 a.m. local time Sunday, amid concerns of possible violence and bloodshed due to disruption from anti-government protesters.

Sunday's voting will last till 3 p.m., with a total of 93,305 polling stations set up in 375 constituencies nationwide for 48.77 million eligible voters.

The election is confronted with a number of problems, though.

The Election Commission decided on Saturday night to cancel voting at all polling stations at the Lak Si district in Bangkok following clashes between pro-government "Red Shirts" and protesters, which left at least eight people injured. Fears of similar incidents run high.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has called a mass rally on Sunday to completely paralyze the capital and prevent people from casting their votes. He has been marching on Bangkok streets over the past days to mobile people to join in.

In addition, ballots delivery to several southern provinces has been blocked by protesters.

It remains to be seen whether the country will be able to go through with the election and how many voters will successfully cast ballots amid blockade.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva earlier said he would not go to vote on Sunday, calling the election "unconstitutional."

But members of the Democrat Party, which has boycotted the election, are free to decide if they will cast ballots or not.


Thailand strengthens security in capital during election

BANGKOK, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Thai First Army Area deployed troops to watch over 10 district offices in capital Bangkok during general election on Sunday.

The 10 districts include Sai Mai, Don Mueang, Bang Kapi, Wang Thonglang, Lak Si, Bang Na, Bang Bon, Suan Luang, Min Buri and Bueng Koom.  Full story

Thai court approves arrest warrant for protest leader

BANGKOK, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Arrest warrants have been announced for three Thai anti-government protesters who interfered advance voting on Jan. 26, including a People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader.

Thai Criminal Court has approved arrest warrants for PDRC leader Issara Somchai, a man known as "Little Saddam", and another man who was photographed trying to strangle a man who had tried to cast his vote on Jan. 26. Full story

Thai caretaker PM urges protesters not to block voting

BANGKOK, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- Thai caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday appealed anti-government protesters not to block voting during the Feb. 2 general election.

Otherwise, Thailand will be viewed as an undemocratic country, Yingluck was quoted by the Nation newspaper as saying. Full story

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Editor: Zhu Ningzhu
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