Thailand's oldest political party under fire for election boycott
BANGKOK (AFP) - After two decades of election defeats, Thailand's oldest political party stands accused of turning its back on democracy by refusing to contest controversial elections to be held on Sunday.
The elite-backed opposition Democrat Party has joined forces with anti-government supporters who are threatening to disrupt the polls and want Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down to make way for an unelected "people's council".
"The party is turning away from democracy," said Mr Pavin Chachavalpongpun, associate professor at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies at Japan's Kyoto University.
The Democrats are "trying to find a short cut" to power, he added, noting that on the several occasions in the past two decades when they did take office it was with the support of the military.