2013 World News: Thailand
Anti-government Protests Prompt Prime Minister to Dissolve Parliament
In early November 2013, Thailand's lower house passed a bill granting amnesty to those accused of offenses committed after the coup of 2006, during which Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted by the military. Thaksin, facing charges of corruption and abuse of power, would be covered by the amnesty law. More than 10,000 demonstrators took to the streets to protest the bill's passage. The bill, however, failed to pass the Senate. Anti-government protests continued into December, with thousands of people taking to the streets to demand the resignation of Yingluck Shinawatra, who they say is a puppet of her brother, former prime minister Thaksin. On Dec. 9, Yingluck dissolved parliament and called for early elections. The opposition, which largely represents the urban middle class, feels the rural majority has accumulated too much power and elections would not solve the problem. Instead, it demanded that parliament be replaced with an unelected People's Council and that the king appoint a prime minister. Yingluck was elected by a wide majority in 2011, taking 265 seats in the 500-seat parliament. The opposition Democrat Party won 159 seats.
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