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Thailand to hold election in July

Thailand's government and the state Election Commission have agreed to hold new general polls on July 20 in an attempt to end the country's political stalemate.

The commission announced the date after meeting with Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and other officials.

Thailand held a general election on Febuary 2 after Ms Yingluck dissolved Parliament's lower house in response to protests calling on her to step down.

The Constitutional Court nullified the election in late March because it failed to be held according to law after the protesters disrupted the registration process and voting.

The protesters say they want Ms Yingluck to step down to allow an interim non-elected government to implement anti-corruption reforms and remove her family's influence from politics.

The protest group, the People's Democratic Reform Committee, has previously insisted it will not accept new elections before reforms are instituted.

Ms Yingluck said on her Facebook page before the meeting: "I truly hope the country will be set free from the conflict and that every side can talk peacefully, as well as can hold an election under a constitutional framework, in order to have a government that is truly wanted by the people soon."

Election Commission secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said the government agreed that if unforeseeable circumstances arise, it will issue another decree to amend the election date.

Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said in a speech the group is launching "the last phase" of its battle and will take power on May 14 to set up a "people's government".

He has made similar vows over the past few months, claiming Ms Yingluck's government lacks legitimacy even though her party held a majority of House seats before Parliament was dissolved.

"Let me emphasise and underline repeatedly that we, the great masses of the people, will move forward in reforming Thailand before election. No other proposals should be suggested," he said.

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