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Opposition should not boycott Thailand polls.

Weeks of political turmoil came to a head yesterday when Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved parliament and called snap elections. That decision, however, failed to convince anti-government protest leaders who pressed ahead with mass demonstrations in Bangkok, seeking to instal an unelected body to run the country. The crisis had temporarily been put on ice as the nation observed several days of peace out of respect for the king's birthday. The protesters insist they would oust Yingluck and eradicate the influence of her self-exiled brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Declaring they were unable to work with Yingluck, the main opposition Democrat Party resigned en masse from parliament last Sunday, raising the question of whether it would boycott the election, driving Thailand deeper into crisis. While the vote may most likely be held on February 2, there is a general feeling that the Democrats will, as of now, boycott the vote. And that will be a serious error of judgement.

The reality is that Thailand has been crippled by years of political protests with both sides of this bitter feud entrenched in their views, determined to prevail even at a cost to the economy itself. The governmental immobilisation that has occurred has impacted Thailand's economy and damaged its reputation as a tourism hub.

But all sides need to be aware that Thailand's military has never been timid in stepping in to rule the nation when politicians fail.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9THAI
Date:Dec 10, 2013
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