Thai Court Throws Out Election, Thrusting Country Back Into Limbo | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Thai Court Throws Out Election, Thrusting Country Back Into Limbo

Thailand's Constitutional Court has voided results from last month's national election, which returned Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her party to power despite a boycott by the opposition.

The decision has thrown the country back into a state of political uncertainty and stoked fears of renewed violence between the premier's supporters and anti-government protesters.

Judges voted 6-3 to declared the Feb. 2. election invalid, citing more than two dozen constituencies where opposition activists had prevented candidates from registering and therefore ballots were not cast. It also declared early voting illegal. According to Thai law, all voting in national elections must occur on the same day.

The court has ordered new elections, but a date has not been set. A second vote would be costly and fraught with the risk of more bloodshed — 23 people were killed in street clashes ahead of the earlier poll. The opposition, which has staged mass rallies in recent months aimed at shutting down the capital, Bangkok, has vowed another boycott.

"If the Feb. 2 election is nullified, and if you are thinking that you will hold a new election — no way! You cannot do that," the movement's leader, Suthep Thaugsuban, said Thursday before a cheering crowd at Lumpini Park in the heart of Bangkok. "The people do not want it. Our operation last time nullified it, this time we will do it again in all provinces. And it will be even more invalid."

A months-long standoff between the government along with its "red shirt" supporters and the "yellow shirt" opposition, which is calling for Yingluck's ouster and for the government to be replaced by an unelected council, has caused the economy to suffer and "tourists to stay away as protesters shut government offices and at times blocked major thoroughfares in Bangkok to try to force Yingluck out," Reuters says.

"Consumer confidence is at a 12-year low, prompting the central bank on Friday to cut its economic growth forecast for this year to 2.7 percent from 3 percent," the news agency reports.

In recent weeks, a failed rice-subsidy scheme, which was intended to benefit the country's poorer, rural farmers who make up a large pro-Yingluck voting bloc, has winnowed some of the prime minister's support.

The Financial Times says:

"The rice programme officially eats up at least $4bn a year but is gripped by a funding crisis, with the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra, prime minister, unable to raise money from banks or bonds to settle debts with farmers dating as far back as September."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

WAMU 88.5

Local Theaters Put 'The Interview' On The Marquee

A handful of theaters nationwide decided to show Sony's "The Interview," and there were several in the D.C. area.

NPR

Why Bury Fig Trees? A Curious Tradition Preserves A Taste Of Italy

For generations, Italian-American fig growers in the Northeast have buried their trees in trenches for the winter. It's a tradition that preserves both flavor and ancestral ties to southern Italy.
NPR

What To Expect In The 2016 Presidential Announcement Season

With Jeb Bush signaling he's likely to run for president in 2016, it's another sign that the presidential announcement season is underway. Here's a look at who has jumped in the race early and what to expect in the coming months.
NPR

Online Sellers Pop Up In Real Life, For A Limited Time Only

One-click shopping is changing the ways people shop and retailers sell their wares. But some online retailers are opening physical stores — some of which last as short as a day.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.