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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 April 2006, 12:47 GMT 13:47 UK
Vote boycott deepens Thai crisis
Women voters tear up their ballots in protest
Many protesters risked jail by tearing up their ballot papers
A second round of elections in Thailand has been boycotted by opposition parties and voters, deepening the political crisis in the country.

The latest poll needed to be held after a low turnout in the main 2 April elections meant not all 500 seats in the lower house were filled.

But more elections may now have to be held after voters stayed away again.

Organisers of the boycott are accusing the governing Thai Rak Thai Party of corruption and abuse of power.

Despite winning the 2 April elections, Thaksin Shinawatra stepped down as prime minister after large public protests against his leadership.

But he said he would stay in parliament and continue to lead his party.

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra - 3/2/06
Critics say Thaksin is trying to wield influence from behind the scenes

The opposition, which boycotted the poll, said it would press on to "uproot the Thaksin regime".

The latest election was concentrated in southern Thailand, a centre of opposition to Mr Shinawatra and scene of a bloody Muslim insurgency.

An initial assessment of the balloting showed that in at least 10 of the 40 constituencies, candidates of Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party who ran unopposed failed to gain the 20% minimum vote needed to win, Ekachai Warrunprapa, secretary-general of the Election Commission, told the Associated Press.

The law states that parliament should convene within 30 days of an election to form a new government, but also that it cannot do so unless all 500 seats of the lower house are filled.

Mr Warrunprapa said the Election Commission would meet on Monday - when unofficial results were expected to be announced - to decide whether another election would be needed.

A look at Thailand's political landscape

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