Thailand: Charter bill changes passes parliament, paving the way for early elections
February 17, 2011
On 11 February, Thailand's parliament passed two constitution amendment bills, which Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had set as a condition to call for early elections. As the opposition Puea Thai party boycotted the vote and staged a walk-out, both chambers passed the bills with overwhelming majority. The bills aim at better classifying international agreements that require parliamentary approval and seek changes to the size of electoral constituencies and number of members of parliament. Abhisit indicated that that he would call for elections in the first half of this year if the country remains free from political violence. Massive protests in April and May last year, led by the opposition red-shirt movement left more than 90 people dead. Despite the strong opposition movement, many observers expect the ruling Democrat Party to garner sufficient support in the elections to remain in power, probably by forming a coalition with other parties.
Author: Ricardo Aceves, Senior Economist