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September 22, 2017

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Thai court rules to allow postponement of election

BANGKOK--Thailand's Constitutional Court ruled Friday that controversial elections scheduled for next month can be delayed due to deadly political unrest, adding to pressure on the embattled premier following weeks of mass opposition protests.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has refused to step down or delay the vote following nearly three months of street rallies aimed at ousting her elected government and installing an unelected "people's council."

The main opposition party is boycotting the Feb. 2 election, while protesters have vowed to disrupt voting, saying reforms are needed to tackle corruption and vote-buying before polls are held in around a year to 18 months.

While ruling that the Feb. 2 vote can legally be postponed, the Constitutional Court said it was the joint responsibility of Yingluck and the chairman of the Election Commission to make that decision.

"The ball is in (Yingluck's) court and the pressure will mount on her to postpone," said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University.

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