Thai opposition plans to boycott February elections

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Demonstrators gather outside the Government House in Bangkok on December 9, 2013. Thailand's premier, Yingluck Shinawatra, called a snap election on December 9 to try to defuse the kingdom's political crisis, but protesters kept up their fight to topple the government with an estimated 140,000 demonstrators flooding the streets of Bangkok.

Credit:

PHILIPPE LOPEZ

Thailand's opposition Democratic Party has decided it will not field a candidate in the February elections that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called earlier in December, casting further uncertainty on the Southeast Asian nation's political future. 

Democratic party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva claimed in a press conference that his political party would not field any candidates because "Thai politics is at a failed stage," wrote the BBC.

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 "The Thai people have lost their faith in the democratic system," he added, undermining Shinawatra's Dec 9th decision to call snap elections in an effort to "give back the power to the Thai people." 

Vejjajiva's Democrats have "vowed not to obstruct" the Feb 2 election, wrote the Bangkok Post, which added that Shinawatra has offered a deal that will introduce reforms and call another election in a year's time, if her party remains in power after the February polling. 

"In fact, the elections are necessary for these reforms to take place. This is because we need the legislative branch to serve as a core mechanism to drive the reforms," she said, according to the Post. 

Mass rallies are planned for this weekend in Bangkok, following weeks of rallies against the Shinawatra government that have been spear-headed by a a former Democrat Party member of parliament, wrote the Voice of America.

Opposition protesters have directed special ire towards a blanket amnesty bill that might allow Thaksin Shinawatra to be cleared of corruption charges, paving the way for him to return to Thailand. 

Thus far, protesters demands for the suspension of government have gone unanswered, while Shinawatra has said she will not step down prior to the February elections.