BANGKOK – Thailand will hold a new general election on July 20, a top poll official said Wednesday, in an effort to resolve a deadly six-month political crisis.
Election Commission (EC) secretary general Puchong Nutrawong said the new voting date had been decided during talks with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
“We agreed that the most suitable election day is July 20 and the EC will draft the royal decree for the prime minister to submit to the king for royal endorsement,” he told reporters.
The kingdom has been without a fully functioning government or parliament since December. A general election held in February was voided after opposition demonstrators disrupted voting.
It was not immediately clear if the main opposition Democrat Party would take part in the new vote.
The opposition protesters want Yingluck to resign to make way for an unelected “people’s council” to oversee political reforms before elections are held.
Yingluck is pushing for new polls as soon as possible to shore up her position in the face of a series of legal threats that could force her from office.
She is accused of dereliction of duty linked to a loss-making rice subsidy scheme and the improper transfer of a senior civil servant.
The nation has been shaken by months of political violence that has left 25 people dead and hundreds wounded, including many anti-government protesters, in grenade attacks and shootings.
Thailand has been bitterly divided since a coup in 2006 ousted Yingluck’s brother Thaksin Shinawatra as prime minister.
He still wields huge influence from his self-exile in Dubai, where he lives to avoid prison for a corruption conviction.