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Abhisit urges delay in July polls to allow time for reforms

Published on May 3, 2014 2:12 PM
Thai opposition leader and former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva speaks during a news conference at a hotel in Bangkok on Saturday, May 3, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thai opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva on Saturday urged that a general election planned for July be delayed by up to six months to allow time for reforms aimed at ending a protracted political crisis that threatens to explode.

Protesters have been trying to oust Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra since November, part of a long-running crisis that broadly pits Bangkok's middle class and royalist establishment against the mainly poor, rural supporters of Ms Yingluck and her brother, ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin was ousted by the military in 2006 and now lives in exile to avoid a jail term handed down in 2008 for abuse of power. His opponents accuse him of corruption and nepotism.

Thailand's Election Commission and Ms Yingluck agreed on Wednesday to hold a general election on July 20, but anti-government protesters who disrupted a vote in February said they still wanted electoral reforms before a new poll.

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