Yingluck to become Thailand’s first female prime minister

July 4th, 2011 - 2:26 am ICT by BNO News  

BANGKOK (BNO NEWS) — Yingluck Shinawatra is set to become Thailand’s first female prime minister as exit polls forecast a majority for the opposition Pheu Thai Party, the Bangkok Post reported.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva conceded the election on Sunday night after unofficial results made it clear that the Pheu Thai Party had won an overwhelming victory. He congratulated Pheu Thai’s top party list candidate Yingluck Shinawatra, who is the next and first female prime minister.

“I would like to thank all Thais who voted for the Democrat Party,” the outgoing prime minister said. “In the past two years, I have committed myself to overcome the crisis and I would like to thank Thai people for moving the country to the current position.”

Yingluck Shinawatra, the youngest sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, also thanked all the people who voted for her party. She added that the Pheu Thai has contacted other parties to discuss plans of forming the next coalition government.

“I would also like to thank Mr Abhisit and other political parties for making the election atmosphere constructive and orderly,” she said. “My party and I will wait for the official election result. We will implement our policies as we’ve promised and we’ll make the country stronger.”

Election Commission Suthipol Thaweechaikarn announced on Sunday night that of the 46,904,823 eligible voters, 30,987,801 or 65.99 per cent turned out to vote. He added that the official election results will be announced on Monday. 

An election officer said that in the town of Kanchanaburi in the country’s west there were complaints of vote buying and unlawful proxy voting in the province, and informants were worried about their safety.

In the restive southern province of Narathiwat, two election officials were injured when gunmen attacked their vehicle after voting closed at 3 p.m. local time. The car was carrying ballot papers from a polling station to a tally centre.

Earlier, suspected militants detonated a roadside bomb with a mobile phone signal as 30 soldiers were securing a road in Reuso district for a convoy of election officials to pass through. No one was injured.

Police blamed both attacks on the Muslim separatist movement in the deep South.

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup in 2006. There were worries that if his party won the elections the military would take action, but Thailand’s army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha dismissed rumors of a possible coup.

Thailand called the general elections after the king endorsed a royal decree to dissolve the lower house of parliament last month.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva encountered both political conflicts and economic problems during its tenure. Last year, the Red-shirt supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship held a 69-day demonstration in an effort to topple his government. Protesters clashed with police, leaving 92 dead and more than a thousand injured.

This is the 12th Thai government that ends with the dissolution of the House. The last dissolution took place in 2006 when fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra announced the move following the pressure from the yellow-clad People’s Alliance for Democracy.

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