Opposition in Thailand announce election boycott

Demonstrators issued an ultimatum early Tuesday demanding that Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra step down or be driven from office by a mass protest after he dissolved parliament and called new elections.

Publisher Sondhi Limthongkul, a key organizer of anti-Thaksin demonstrations, announced the utlimatum about 1:30 a.m. (1830 GMT Monday) at a rally by thousands of protesters who had massed in Bangkok since Sunday. They then dispersed peacefully, but planned to reconvene next Sunday.

"We give Thaksin until (Sunday) March 5 to resign or face the biggest show of opposition ever, and when that time comes, you and your family will have no space to live on Thai soil," Sondhi said.

Opposition parties on Monday said they will boycott April 2 national elections because Thaksin refused to consider their proposals for political reform, heightening the country's political crisis.

The boycott announcement by the Democrat, Chart Thai and Mahachon parties came after Thaksin agreed to hold talks with them, but not to accept their proposals. The opposition's plan was not publicly announced, but reportedly called for Thaksin to step down from office until the elections are held, reports the AP.


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