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Top 3 Political Stories of the Day

Thai protests leader Suthep Thaugsuban said his supporters will not "block" advance voting Sunday for next week's general elections. "We will not block the election but we will persuade everyone in front of polling stations to jointly reform Thailand instead of exercising their voting rights," said Suthep Thaugsuban, chairman of the People's Democratic Reform Committee. Suthep urged protesters to arrive at the polling stations early in the morning on the advance voting day, the Bangkok Post reported Saturday. Since November, they have been taking to the streets and occupying government offices, calling for reforms before the elections. At least 29 people died in violent clashes in Egypt Saturday, as the conflict-torn country marked the third anniversary of the uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak. The country's health ministry said at least 167 people were wounded and at least 29 killed in rival demonstrations between opponents and supporters of Egypt's military-led government. Saturday's clashes follow a common pattern of violence that has taken over the country since Mubarak's ouster -- one that was stoked in July, when the army deposed Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi. Madagascar's new president Hery Rajaonarimampianina took office on Saturday, pledging to create an investment-friendly climate in the Indian Ocean island. The World Bank said on Friday the next step of forming a government was crucial and resumption of normal lending hinged on the appointment of a new prime minister. The former finance minister won the presidential election on December 20, the first in the country since the 2009 coup that plunged Madagascar into a political crisis that has sharply slowed economic growth and deepened poverty.

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