From Associated Press:
Jul 3, 4:40 AM EDT
Thai exit polls show big win for ousted PM’s party
By TODD PITMAN
BANGKOK — The opposition party allied to ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was poised for landslide victory Sunday in fractious Thailand‘s elections, easily garnering the majority needed to form a new government, according to two respected exit polls.
The Election Commission has yet to release results, but is expected to do so later Sunday.
If confirmed, the outcome would set the stage for Thaksin’s youngest sister, 44-year-old Yingluck Shinawatra, to become the Southeast Asian kingdom’s first female prime minister. Such a large mandate to govern could also make it easier to navigate a way out of out of the political crisis that has plagued Thailand since Thaksin was overthrown in a military coup five years ago.
Two respected exit polls were released after polls closed at 3 p.m.
One, the Suan Dusit university poll, gave Yingluck’s party 313 of 500 parliament seats, compared to 152 seats for the ruling Democrat party of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. Another poll by Bangkok’s Assumption University gave Pheu Thai 299 seats compared to 132 for the Democrats.
Abhisit Vejjajiva’s party, known as “yellow shirts” as opposed to pro-democracy “red shirts”, may be “Democrats” in name, and in the eyes of some uncritical Werstern corporate media. However, their position in government so far is based on an extremely undemocratic military coup. They smell of military dictatorship and absolute monarchy.
While the vote itself was peaceful, many fear violence could erupt if the outcome is not accepted by party rivals or the coup-prone military.
Holding the ballot was a key demand of anti-government protesters who flooded the streets of Bangkok for two months last year and brought the glittering city to its knees.
Thaksin’s ascent to power in 2001 changed Thailand forever, touching off a societal schism between the country’s haves and long-silent have-nots. The marginalized rural poor hail his populism, while the elite establishment sees him as a corrupt, autocratic threat to the revered monarchy and the status quo.
That schism has played out through pro- and anti-Thaksin street protests since the 2006 coup, and on Sunday it hit the ballot box.
See also here.
June 2011: Thailand’s pet dealers are supplying large numbers of Madagascar’s most threatened reptiles and amphibians to local and international markets, despite unanswered questions over the legality of the imports, a new TRAFFIC report has found: here.
Rail union RMT condemned a decision by the Thai Labour Court today to sack seven union leaders who organised a strike over safety in 2009 and to impose a punitive fine of 15 million baht (£308,000) on their union the SRUT: here.
Moves by the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to implement an electoral promise to guarantee rice prices for Thailand’s farmers have raised sharp criticisms in ruling circles. Known in Thailand as the rice mortgage scheme, the election pledge was a vital part of her Puea Thai party’s efforts to maintain political support in the rural north east and north of the country for the July 3 national election: here.
Italian Photographer’s Death Probed. Thai Army Alleged to Have Targeted Journalists in 2010 Protests: here.