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Bangkok Shutdown: Election is the only way out, says Thai PM

Published on Jan 17, 2014 3:28 PM
Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra maintained a composed front in the face of growing political pressures while meeting the foreign media, flanked by her three Deputy Prime Ministers, in Bangkok on Friday. -- PHOTO: NIRMAL GHOSH

BANGKOK - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, under growing pressure from street protests and legal challenges, insisted on Friday that the mid-term poll on Feb 2 must take place in order to resolve the country's political crisis.

A day after Thailand's National Counter Corruption Commission (NACC) said she should be investigated for irregularities in the ruling Puea Thai party's flagship rice-buying scheme, she told foreign journalists: "If people don't want us, they can vote.''

The investigation of her role in the scheme centres on purported deals to sell rice to China that the NACC says did not exist - raising the question of corruption and the spectre of her being forced to resign to take responsibility.

But on the sidelines of the premier's half-hour meeting with the foreign press on Friday, deputy prime minster Pongthep Thepkanchana said the premier would strongly defend herself, and the investigation would take time and was unlikely to come to a conclusion before Feb 2. The election would go ahead regardless, he said.

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