Thai Democrats to boycott Feb 2 election, huge rallies continue: The main opposition Democrat Party has announced it will boycott the scheduled February 2, 2013 snap elections called after the recent dissolution of the House of Representatives, in a move that could deepen the ongoing political crisis.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva told a news conference on Saturday that the party would not be fielding candidates, saying “Thai politics is at a failed stage,” and added, “The Thai people have lost their faith in the democratic system”.
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her Pheu Thai Party continue to insist the elections must be held as scheduled in accordance with the constitution.
The Election Commission has voiced concerns that the massive anti-government protests in Bangkok could prevent the first day of election candidate registration on Monday.
Meanwhile, anti-government protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban was clearly delighted with the huge turnout for Sunday’s city-wide protests, declaring that he was confident the so-called “Thaksin regime” will be wiped from Thailand after he saw the massive throngs of protesters turn out.
He described the numbers as far more than had turned out on December 9, the proclaimed “final battle” day, and the day that Yingluck has dissolved parliament.
He said, however, that he believed the government would tell other countries and the foreign media that only 150,000 showed up, said a Bangkok Post report.
Mr. Suthep was addessing the crowds at Ratchaprasong intersection in the heart of Bangkok, the same place where red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship protests were held in 2010, until a military crackdown ended the rallies.
Mr. Suthep accused the red-shirts of rallying for one man at that time – former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
“They fought for one man which is their father in Dubai. The same place here, but we have millions of people but can remain peaceful. We kill no one and don’t torch the city,” he said, in reference to the violence of those 2010 protests and the torching of numerous buildings in Bangkok once the rallies had ended.
“Today we shut down Bangkok for half a day. If [Yingluck] does not resign, next time it will be a full day and if she still does not resign, it may be a whole month shutdown,” Mr. Suthep told the crowds.
On Friday, after the Department of Special Investigation had frozen the bank accounts of protest leaders, Mr. Suthep led his supporters around the city demanding the resignation of Ms. Yingluck, while Bangkok residents freely handed him overwhelming cash donations totalling millions of baht in response to the freezing of the accounts.