Thailand's Senate struggles for quorum in vote on contentious amnesty bill

Thailand's Senate is struggling to reach a quorum so it can vote on a contentious amnesty bill that could pave the way for the return from exile of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed by a 2006 military coup.

The government-backed bill would grant amnesty to leaders and others involved in often-violent political conflicts since 2004. Thousands of people have joined street protests this past week against the legislation, which they say is intended to let Thaksin escape a two-year jail term on a corruption conviction.

The Senate vote was moved to Friday from next Monday in what Thaksin's critics say was an effort to calm the protests, which have put heavy pressure on the government. Anti-Thaksin senators boycotted Friday's session.

Parliament's lower house has already approved the legislation.