New Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand chose not to walk though the thousands of protesters massed outside Parliament Monday, delaying his much-anticipated first policy speech to legislators. The address must be given by Jan. 7, but legal experts suggested that he could ask for an extension on grounds of political turbulence. The protesters, supporters of exiled former government chief Thaksin Shinawatra, vowed to remain in place until Abhisit schedules a new national election.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
"Provocative, belligerent posturing" by India and Pakistan must stop and the two sides should resume "a peace dialogue," the chairman of the latter's joint chiefs of staff said Monday. Gen. Ashfaq Kayani's remarks were believed to be the first on the subject by the most senior Pakistani military leader and were seen as a sign that his government doesn't want further escalation of tensions with its nuclear-armed neighbor. India has blamed Pakistani-based terrorists for last month's assault on Mumbai. Pakistan has shifted some troops from the border with Afghanistan to the boundary with India, but denies that the latter is a military buildup.
Would-be voters were still waiting on line Monday as closing time arrived at polling places in Bangladesh in the first election in seven years. A clear picture of the outcome isn't expected until Tuesday. But while the election to restore democracy was largely incident-free, analysts speculated that unresolved corruption charges against former prime ministers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina would prevent needed reform or stability.