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Last Updated: Monday, 15 May 2006, 10:01 GMT 11:01 UK
Plan for new Thai poll in October
Voters in the 2 April election
The opposition boycotted the 2 April election
Thailand's Election Commission has proposed to delay the re-run of last month's general election until October.

The commission suggested 22 October as a suitable date, after holding talks with politicians from various parties.

The government still has to officially agree to this date, although its representative at the meeting raised no objection.

April's poll was annulled last week by the Constitutional Court because it was boycotted by the main opposition.

There had been increasing calls for the results to be nullified, because this had meant the governing Thai Rak Thai party easily won.

The BBC correspondent in Bangkok, Jonathan Head, says the new date is likely to be acceptable to the opposition Democrats, who now have enough time to persuade factions within the governing party to change sides.

Despite strong pressure on the four election commissioners to resign over the alleged mishandling of last month's ballot, they insisted on fulfilling their role under the constitution by picking the date of the new election.

The main opposition parties refused to attend Monday morning's meeting with the commission, which they accuse of consistently favouring Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

But, according to our correspondent, they will probably be happy with the date it is now proposing.

Time to plan

A 22 October election gives them plenty of time to devise a strategy for matching the formidable election machine of Mr Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party.

Perhaps more importantly, it also gives them the opportunity to persuade some of the factions inside Thai Rak Thai to defect, for which they have to give 90 days notice.

If the Thai Cabinet approves this date, it would leave Thailand without a parliament for another five months.

But this political crisis has passed off remarkably peacefully so far.

Although no one is quite sure who is running the country right now, it seems Thailand can afford a long wait to make sure the next election does produce a government which is acceptable to all, our correspondent says.

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