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Oppn sweeps Thai polls

world Updated: Jul 04, 2011 01:44 IST

PTI
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The Pheu Thai Party led by the sister of ousted fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra today swept the general elections in Thailand, paving the way for its leader Yingluck Shinawatra to be the country's first woman prime minister.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva conceded that Yingluck had won the nation's election and congratulated her for being the first female prime minister.

Yingluck, 44, the telegenic youngest sister of former premier and telecoms billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, who is on a self imposed exile in Dubai and has been out of Thailand since the coup five years ago when he was ousted. Yingluck dubbed as Thaksin's political proxy will be the 28th prime minister of the country, which has a history of military coups and political instability.

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With over 90 per cent of votes counted, Puea Thai had won 260 seats out of 500. It is well ahead of the Democrats with 163, according to the Election Commission. "The outcome is clear -- Puea Thai has won the election and the Democrats are defeated," Abhisit told supporters at the party's Bangkok headquarters. Exit polls had shown that Yingluck's party may take more than 300 of the 500 seats in the House of Representatives enabling the party to form its own government without looking for coalition partners.

Exit polls showed that Yingluck's Pheu Thai party with a wide lead over Abhisit's Democratic Party. "Thank you to the people who came out to vote," the beaming businesswoman said after victory at the polls.

The general elations were the first major electoral test for the elite-backed government since mass demonstrations by Thaksin's "Red Shirt" supporters last year paralysed Bangkok and unleashed the worst political violence in decades.

Elections may bring to an end the last few years of unrest between supporters of Thaksin and the Democrats and Royal supporters. The Pheu Thai party is allied with Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted as prime minister the 2006 military coup.

Tensions between the Democratic Party and the Pheu Thai party erupted last year, with protests against Abhisit's government leading to a military crackdown resulting in 90 deaths and hundreds injured.