"If found guilty, Yingluck could face removal from office and a five-year ban from politics. "
Bangkok, April 30 - The Thai caretaker government Wednesday agreed with the Election Commission - to hold a new general election on July 20 even as it was not clear whether caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will contest.
The agreement was reached during talks between the government and the EC at the Royal Thai Air Force Academy, Xinhua reported.
The government has agreed with all the EC proposals such as enhancing the candidate registration mechanism and deploying security forces to help maintain order during the election, EC Secretary General Puchong Nutrawong said at a press conference following the meeting.
The EC will meet next Tuesday to draft a royal decree on the new election date, which will then be issued by the government.
The EC has consulted various parties regarding the election date ever since the Constitutional Court nullified in March the Feb 2 general elections on grounds that it was not held on a single day as the constitution stipulated.
The Democrat Party, which boycotted the Feb 2 elections, is yet to decide whether to contest the new polls, but its leader Abhisit Vejjajiva did not rule out such a possibility during his meeting with the EC Tuesday.
Abhisit put forward a number of proposals during the meeting, including measures to reform the EC's mechanisms and management in holding elections.
The ultimate goal of his proposals is to carry out reform in line with the constitution, Abhisit said, adding if all sides accepted his proposals, the Democrats would agree to run in a new election.
Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has so far remained non-committal to questions as to whether she would contest the new elections and only remarked without elaborating that she would rather leave it to the people to decide.
Yingluck is now entangled in legal cases that could decide the fate of her and her cabinet, and thus possibly further complicate the current political situation.
The Constitutional Court is expected to deliver a verdict on whether Yingluck has violated the constitution by making a personnel transfer order years ago, which the Supreme Administrative Court has ruled unlawful.
Yingluck Tuesday submitted to the court her defence statement for the case. Should the court rule against her, she and her cabinet could face removal from office.
Meanwhile, the National Anti-Corruption Commission said earlier that it would announce its decision May 8 or May 15 regarding Yingluck's alleged negligence of duty in the controversial rice-pledging scheme.
If found guilty, Yingluck could face removal from office and a five-year ban from politics.
Both the pro-government Red Shirts and anti-government protesters who have staged months of street rallies in the capital are now awaiting the rulings of these independent agencies, on which their next moves will depend.