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Thailand's Parliament recalled to deal with pressure from anti-government protesters

THAILAND’S cabinet approved a request yesterday to recall parliament for a special session to address the political pressures from continuing anti-government protests.

The request for the session came from House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, who said on Monday that both government and opposition parties supported it.

There is a deadlock between the government and the student-led protesters, who want Prime Minister Prayuth Chanocha to step down, the constitution to be amended to make it more democratic and reforms to the monarchy to have it conform to democratic norms.

The protesters charge that Mr Prayuth, the army commander who led 2014’s coup, was returned to power unfairly in last year’s general election because laws had been changed to favour a pro-military party. The protesters say a constitution written and passed under military rule is undemocratic.

But their more recent demand for checks and balances on the monarchy has deeply angered conservative Thais — and broken a taboo, since the monarchy is considered sacrosanct. Tough laws protecting it from insult mean its role is not usually discussed openly. However, the behaviour of playboy king Maha Vajiralongkorn has brought the institution into disrepute, critics say.

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