Thailand's ruling party yesterday called for controversial elections to go ahead, despite widespread disruption to advance voting by opposition protesters who besieged polling stations and stopped hundreds of thousands from casting ballots.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has faced nearly three months of mass street demonstrations demanding her elected government step down to make way for an unelected "people's council" that would oversee reforms aimed at curbing the dominance of her billionaire family.
About 440,000 people out of two million registered for advance voting were prevented by demonstrators from casting their ballots on Sunday, the election commission said.
Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has threatened to "close every route" to polling stations again for the February 2 general election, raising fears of further violence.
Ten people have been killed and hundreds injured in grenade attacks, drive-by shootings and street clashes since the protests began at the end of October.
An anti-government rally leader was shot dead in broad daylight Sunday while giving a speech from the back of a pickup truck in a Bangkok suburb.
Yingluck is due to meet election authorities today to discuss a possible delay to the election, after the Constitutional Court ruled that the polls could legally be pushed back because of the civil strife.
But the head of her Puea Thai Party Jarupong Ruangsuwan opposed a postponement yesterday and accused the Election Commission -- which favours a delay -- of not doing enough to ensure an orderly vote.
It was unclear whether his view reflected that of the government, which said it was ready to listen to the poll body's comments at today's meeting.