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Military urged to choose the side of righteousness' :

A group of retired police and military officers issued a statement yesterday, urging the military's top brass to choose "the side of righteousness" and demand the government implement political reforms, before the February 2 election.

The group also urged the current commander-in-chief of the armed forces to call for Yingluck Shinawatra's resignation as caretaker prime minister.

The group is led by former Air Force chief ACM Gun Pimarnthip, and former national police chief Pol General Pratin Santiprapop. Also present at the press conference were Squadron Leader Prasong Soonsiri, a former member of the constitution drafting assembly, and Lt-Colonel Kamol Prachuapmoh, a former member of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Gun said his group of retired police and military officers had been monitoring the political situation for over a month and realised that if the current military leaders did nothing, the situation would end in violence.

Yingluck and Thaksin's legal adviser Noppadon Pattama registered as candidates of the Pheu Thai Party, the party's spokesman Prompong Nopparit said yesterday. He said the party would finish verifying the qualifications of all its candidates by tomorrow.

Election 'will not be smooth'

The National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) asked 1,254 respondents for their views on the election, in a survey conducted between December 17-19.

Up to 55 per cent of the respondents said they thought the election would not run smoothly; 32.7 per cent disagreed and 12 per cent said they were not sure.

Asked about the political situation after the election, 47 per cent said they believed the political turmoil would continue; 22 per cent said they expected things to become serious; and 20 per cent said it would improve. Up to 46 per cent said political reforms should be implemented before the February 2 election, while 36 per cent said the election should be held first.


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