Allies of ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra on Monday claimed they had enough support to form a coalition government, after falling short of a majority in the first polls since last year's coup.
The People Power Party (PPP), which has promised to bring Thaksin back from his self-imposed exile in Britain, looked set to win 232 of the 480 seats in parliament, according to an unofficial count of all the ballots.
Analysts had forecast protracted hard bargaining with the smaller parties that won seats, but PPP secretary general Surapong Suebwonglee said they already had the support needed to form a government.
"Other parties have agreed to join a coalition, which would give us more than half of the seats in parliament," Surapong told reporters, but declined to name their future partners.
The generals who toppled Thaksin's twice-elected government have made little secret that they want to keep supporters of the self-made billionaire out of power, after trying for more than a year to erase his legacy.
PPP leader Samak Sundaravej declared late yesterday he would become the next prime minister "for sure", but his failure to win an absolute majority has forced him to woo small parties to form a coalition.
The PPP's closest rival, the Democrat Party, was set to win 165 seats, the Election Commission said, with five smaller parties dividing up the rest.
Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has refused to bow out, saying he was prepared to form a coalition government if the PPP fails to do so.