Desperate to defuse Thailand’s deepening political crisis, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday said she is dissolving the lower house of Parliament and called for early elections. But the moves did nothing to stem a growing tide of more than 150,000 protesters vowing to overthrow her in one of the nation’s largest demonstrations in years.
“After listening to opinions from all sides, I have decided to request a royal decree to dissolve Parliament,” said Yingluck, her voice shaking as she spoke in a nationally televised address Monday morning that broke into regular programming. “There will be new elections according to the democratic system.”
Yingluck’s ruling party won the last vote two years ago in a landslide, and is likely to come out victorious in any new ballot.
Government spokesman Teerat Ratanasevi said the Cabinet had proposed a new vote be held Feb. 2. The date must be approved by the Election Commission, and electoral officials will meet with the government in the next few days to discuss it, said Jinthong Intarasri, a spokeswoman for commission.