Thailand's prime minister says he will dissolve parliament in May, a move that would pave the way for new elections and defuse growing political tensions ahead of a major anti-government rally this weekend.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's Friday announcement is the firmest timeframe he has set so far for elections. New elections are a key demand of the Red Shirt protesters who led two months of protests last year that left about 90 people dead.
The Red Shirts plan to mark the first anniversary of last year's rally Saturday.
Abhisit said he will seek the approval of the constitutional monarch to dissolve parliament the first week of May, which would mean new elections by mid-July. The royal approval is considered a formality.