Thaksin announces House dissolution
updated - Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra announced a House dissolution Friday evening after he was granted an audience with His Majesty the King.
Thaksin told a TV live broadcast that he could not allow a group of people to use mob rule to force him to comply so he decided to return the mandate to the people by holding a snap election on April 2.
Thaksin said he considered that returning the mandate to the people is the best way-out under democratic rule.
"I would like to ask the people to decide whether you still want this government to serve the country … I have to uphold the democratic rules to return the mandate to the people … No matter how the people will decide, I'll accept it," Thaksin said on TV, which was broadcast at 8:40 pm on all TV channels.
The prime minister said a group of people, who had lost benefit because of his government, were trying to topple the government while a larger group of people wanted him to stay.
"I beg your permission to return the mandate of the people to make a decision again," Thaksin said on TV.
"I can't accept a decision of people who don't respect the system but claimed to decide for other people.
"April 2 will be an important day for the country. It will not be an ordinary election but it will be a time for you all to show your decision force and I'll accept it with respect."
Before he appeared on TV, he had a spokesman read a statement criticising his opponents for not playing by the rule.
Thaksin entered the Chitralada Palace at 5 pm to be granted the audience and left the palace shortly before 6 pm.
The prime minister then went to the Thai Rak Thai party head office and told reporters there that he had received a royal command to dissolve the House of Representatives.
He appeared relaxed and humming a song.
"Only House dissolution, no Cabinet reshuffle," Thaksin told reporters at his party's head office.
A Government House source said Thaksin decided to dissolve the House because he could find a suitable person to replace him as the prime minister.
The source said Thaksin wanted the snap election to be held as soon as possible. The source said Thaksin wanted to have the election held on April 2 or April 9.
Election Commission member Parinya Nakchattree said the EC would be able to make preparations in time for the election to take place on April 2.
He said the EC would have to send lists of eligible voters to each house at least 20 days before the Election Day but he was confident that the preparations could be made in time.
Suriyasai Katasila, a coordinator of the People's Alliance for Democracy, said the PAD was unhappy with the House dissolution and saw it as an selfish act of the prime minister.
He said the House dissolution would not solve the current political problems but would allow Thaksin to try seek a political come back and prolong his political power.
Anek Laothamthap, a former leader of Mahachon Party, denounced Thaksin for dissolving the House without informing other parties first as he had promised in the past.
Anek said Thaksin used to say he would inform MPs and other parties at least 90 days before a House dissolution so that MPs could switch party.
"He lied and took the edge over other parties," Anek said.