Skip to main content

Amid protests, Thailand's PM Yingluck Shinawatra dissolves parliament

By Kocha Olarn, CNN
December 9, 2013 -- Updated 0635 GMT (1435 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Elections to be held by February 2, spokesman says
  • NEW: He also says it's not certain Yingluck's party will vote for her to run
  • Between 100,000 and 150,000 demonstrators rallied in Bangkok
  • Protesters were headed toward the PM's office

Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) -- Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the nation's parliament Monday and called for new elections. But the move did little to appease anti-government protesters who remained on the streets by the thousands.

Between 100,000 and 150,000 demonstrators rallied in Bangkok, with protest leaders saying their goal Monday is to storm Shinawatra's office, known as Government House.

The country will hold new elections by February 2, but embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra may not be her party's choice to run, a government spokesman told CNN on Monday.

"I don't know whether the Pheu Thai Party will still vote (for) her to run again or not," said spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi, referring to the ruling party.

Yingluck's move Monday comes a day after Thailand's main opposition party, Democrat Party, said its roughly 150 members would resign en masse from parliament because they could no longer work with the government.

An anti-government protester blows a whistle in front of Thai flags during a rally at Bangkok's Democracy Monument on Friday, one day after the embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra survived a no-confidence vote in parliament. An anti-government protester blows a whistle in front of Thai flags during a rally at Bangkok's Democracy Monument on Friday, one day after the embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra survived a no-confidence vote in parliament.
Thai protesters stage huge rallies
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Thai protesters stage huge rallies Thai protesters stage huge rallies
Thai Prime Minister dissolves parliament
Thai protesters test security forces

"I don't want our country and the Thai people to suffer from more losses," Yingluck said in a televised address.

But opposition party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the massive protests leave the government little choice.

"I think the best way for the Prime Minister to show responsibility is by returning power to the people," he told CNN.

Still, dissolving parliament and calling elections appear unlikely to placate protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister for the Democrat Party. He has called for power to be transferred to an unelected "people's council."

Q&A: What's behind the protests in Thailand?

Thaksin's influence

During the weeks of demonstrations, protesters have occupied various government offices. The rallies have been mostly peaceful, but clashes between protesters and government supporters on November 30 left five people dead.

Protesters and police, who had confronted each other with tear gas and rocks in parts of Bangkok last week, agreed to a truce Tuesday in a show of respect for Thailand's revered king, who celebrated his 86th birthday Thursday.

Protest leaders have said they want to rid Thailand of the influence of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the older brother of Yingluck.

That's an ambitious goal in a country where parties affiliated with Thaksin, who built his political success on populist policies that appealed to Thailand's rural heartland, have won every election since 2001.

Thaksin was ousted in a military coup in 2006 and has spent most of the time since then in exile overseas. If he returns, he risks a two-year prison sentence on a corruption conviction, which he says was politically motivated.

The current protests in Bangkok were prompted by a botched attempt by Yingluck's government to pass an amnesty bill that would have opened the door for her brother's return.

That move added fuel for critics who accuse Yingluck of being nothing more than Thaksin's puppet, an allegation she has repeatedly denied.

Revered king asks for unity in birthday speech

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1239 GMT (2039 HKT)
Sean Connery says "yes," whilst David Beckham says "no." See what the famous are saying about Scotland's referendum.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1710 GMT (0110 HKT)
On September 18, Scots go to the polls to vote on the future of their country. Here's what you should know.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
This is "Flames of War," a slick and ominous new video from the ISIS media center.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1903 GMT (0303 HKT)
For years, Morten Storm moved between two worlds. A radical Islamist turned double agent is lifting the lid on some of the world's best-kept secrets.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 0038 GMT (0838 HKT)
A man abducted alongside killed U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff tells CNN that no one from the U.S. government has tried to talk with him.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1508 GMT (2308 HKT)
Mulatu Astatke is the founding father of ethio-jazz: a fusion of Ethiopian music with western jazz.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1311 GMT (2111 HKT)
Have you been to these? The global museum list, released Tuesday, ranks 25 of the world's best museums.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1703 GMT (0103 HKT)
iOS 8, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, comes with new features that you'll enjoy.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
The Ebola virus, very deadly and currently without a cure, is fast-spreading throughout the small West African country.
September 18, 2014 -- Updated 0142 GMT (0942 HKT)
It's a surfer's paradise -- but Diah Rahayu is out on her own when it comes to professional women's wave-riding in Bali.
September 17, 2014 -- Updated 1004 GMT (1804 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT