Thai anti-government group protests

The anti-government group whose mass protests earlier this year pressured Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to step down announced plans Wednesday to stage a rally urging the Election Commission to resign.

The People's Alliance for Democracy accuses the commission of mishandling last month's general election. The poll effectively returned Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party to power but led to a political stalemate that blocked a new government from being formed.

In response to growing criticism, the head of the commission said he planned to resign, eventually.

"Let me finish my paperwork, and then I will resign," Vasana Puemlap told reporters.

The rally, planned for Monday, will be the first led by the People's Alliance for Democracy in over a month. The coalition of anti-government organizations organized a series of large demonstrations in Bangkok which led to the Thai leader holding a snap election April 2, three years ahead of schedule.

Critics accuse Thaksin, who resigned two days after the ballot, of widespread corruption and abuse of power.

Opposition parties boycotted the snap polls, prompting a landslide electoral victory for Thai Rak Thai. But in some constituencies where Thai Rak Thai candidates ran unopposed, parliamentary seats remained empty making it impossible for parliament to convene and form a new government.

Thailand's revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej publicly chastised the nation's top courts for failing to find a solution to the deadlock, prompting the Constitutional Court to rule the polls unconstitutional and annul them.

The Supreme, Administrative and Constitutional courts have since urged members of the Election Commission to step down for mishandling the election, as have other critics who claim the commissioners are pawns of the government, reports the AP.

I.L.