Thai Premier Confirms Will Dissolve Parliament in September Before Polls
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he’ll dissolve parliament in September, stopping short of meeting demands by anti-government protesters that he give a specific date ahead of an election planned for Nov. 14.
The prime minister said “yes” today when asked by reporters if he would dissolve the House of Representatives between Sept. 15 and 30. An election must be held 45 to 60 days after lawmakers are dismissed.
Protesters mostly representing Thailand’s urban and rural poor have said they will end their eight-week occupation of Bangkok’s commercial center when Abhisit declares a dissolution date. He proposed the November election earlier this week as part of a five-step plan to end a standoff that has prompted countries to advise against traveling to Thailand and threatened economic growth.
Abhisit’s offer to cut his term short by about 13 months helped stocks rise to the highest in a month and the baht gain the most in two weeks on May 4. Clashes between security forces and demonstrators have killed 27 people.
The reconciliation plan includes safeguarding the monarchy, addressing economic inequality, ensuring an independent media, creating an independent body to investigate political violence and assessing ways to change the constitution. All six parties in the coalition support the proposal, according to Abhisit.
During televised talks in March, protesters rejected Abhisit’s offer to call an election by year’s end if all parties agreed on constitutional changes. The prime minister in turn dismissed an April 23 proposal by his opponents to dissolve parliament in 30 days. Abhisit’s term expires in December 2011.
The SET Index climbed 4.4 percent on May 4, led by tourism- related stocks. Thai Airways International Pcl, the country’s biggest airline, jumped 6.6 percent and Minor International Pcl, the biggest hotel operator, surged 12 percent.
The demonstrators, mostly supporters of fugitive former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, have cordoned off a Bangkok commercial area roughly the size of New York’s Central Park with barricades of rubber tires, bamboo sticks and razor wire. The government says the group is armed, a charge the protesters deny.