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Thai PM In Tears, Begs Protesters To Take Part In Election



Her eyes welling with tears, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra pleaded on Tuesday for anti-government demonstrators to clear the streets and support a snap election, but defiant protest leaders called for her to step down within 24 hours.

After weeks of sometimes violent street rallies, protesters rejected her call on Monday for a general election and said she should be replaced by an unelected “people’s council”, a proposal that has stoked concern Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy may abandon the democratic process.
Yingluck said she would continue her duties as caretaker prime minister until the election, which is set for February 2.

On Tuesday she held a cabinet meeting at an army club.
“Now that the government has dissolved parliament, I ask that you stop protesting and that all sides work towards elections,” Yingluck told reporters as she went in.
“I have backed down to the point where I don’t know how to back down any further.”

Tears briefly formed in her eyes as she spoke, before she quickly composed herself – perhaps a glimpse of the emotional toll she has faced from weeks of protests.
Yingluck, a 46-year-old former businesswoman, had no political experience before entering a 2011 election that she won by a landslide, largely on the back of rural support.

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