Candidates in Thailand on March 4 began registering for a Senate election to take place on March 30.
The registration of candidates vying for 77 seats in the 150-seat Senate will continue until March 8. The other 73 seats are appointed.

The new senators will face tough duties including possible impeachment proceedings against caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in connection with a controversial rice subsidy scheme.

The same day, Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said the ongoing state of emergency will stay in place if protest leader Suthep continues leading violent demonstrations, with grenades, shootings and acts of violence still being caused by provocateurs.

Earlier, on March 2, anti-government protesters ended their self-styled “shutdown” of Bangkok , abandoned most of their rally sites and moved to Lumpini Park . However, several have still besieged Government agencies.

The tension in Thailand has shown signs of easing since February 27 when Suthep called for a dialogue broadcast live on television with PM Yingluck Shinawatra.

In response, Yingluck said she was in favour of the negotiations if they are constitutional. She also asked Suthep whether he was ready to end the protest to pave the way for the election.

In another development, PM Yingluck could face murder charges after relatives of two anti-government protesters who died following clashes with police filed a complaint with a criminal court, a lawyer said on March 4.

The murder complaint was also lodged against five other people, including Labour Minister Chalerm Yubamrung, who Yingluck appointed to oversee the emergency response to the ongoing rallies.-VNA