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Finally!!


Zak

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Normally I usually don't post politics stuff but I felt that it needed to be said here. I'm glad they finally put the end to the bull sh*t and things are getting done. (Me being half Thai.)

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Thai prime minister concedes, congratulates first female premier

Bangkok (CNN) -- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva conceded Sunday that Yingluck Shinawatra had won the nation's election.

"Congratulations to Thailand's first female prime minister," he said.

Authorities were still counting votes, but Yingluck said her Pheu Thai party already appeared to have garnered a majority of votes based on the existing tally.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people and thank you for every vote you have given to us," Yingluck told reporters at her campaign headquarters Sunday night.

Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, was ousted as prime minister in a 2006 military coup.

With about 47 million eligible voters in Thailand, the balloting was held to decide Thailand's first general election since 2007, an election that many hope will bring an end to years of unrest between two political factions that climaxed last year with protests that turned deadly.

"There is a lot more hard work to do in the future for the well-being of our sisters and brothers, the people of Thailand," Yingluck said Sunday. "There are many things to accomplish to make reconciliation possible, paving the way for a solid foundation for a flourishing nation."

Tensions between the Democratic Party and the Pheu Thai party, which reflect deep divisions within Thai society, erupted last year, with protests against Abhisit's government leading to a military crackdown. More than 90 people were killed and hundreds were injured.

After the riots, the Thai government pledged to work toward a process of national reconciliation to heal class and political divisions, though the divide between the two groups remains wide.

Early exit polling Sunday in Thailand showed Yingluck with a wide lead over Abhisit of the Democratic Party.

It also showed Yingluck's party may take more than 300 of the 500 seats in the House of Representatives up for grabs in the election, according to data collected by the Suan Dusit Poll. It would be one of the few times in recent decades, if the polling is correct, that a party won a majority, allowing it to form its own administration without having to build a coalition.

The Suan Dusit Poll is conducted by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, a well-respected institution that conducts a number of polls and surveys.

The Pheu Thai party led by a narrow margin in pre-election polls.

Bangkot Maneemarn, a street vendor working outside one of Bangkok's polling stations, said most Thais were thinking about the economy when they cast ballots.

"I want him or her to improve the economic situation. The cost of living is very high," Maneemarn told CNN. He did not say who he voted for in the race.

Forty parties competed to fill the office of prime minister and 500 seats in the House of Representatives, according to the Thai Election Commission website.

The commission said 1.2 million election workers were at hand at more than 94,000 polling stations for the country's estimated 47 million eligible voters to cast ballots.

Who wins Sunday's vote is far less important geopolitically than whether or not the results are accepted, according to Ernest Bower, Southeast Asia program director for the Center for Strategic & International Studies.

The main regional players -- the United States, China and Thailand's neighbors from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- will be watching the outcome closely, knowing that further unrest in what has historically been one of the most stable countries in southeast Asia could affect the balance of power.

"The best outcome for the U.S. and the region as a whole is that there is an election, that the Thai people agree that it was run fairly and that all parties accept the results," Bower told CNN, before voting began.

The fear, or "unhappy scenario," as Bower put it, is if a party wins, and the other side does not accept the result, either by rejecting the election results or the process itself.

Abhisit was put in office in 2008 by a parliamentary vote after the courts dissolved the previous ruling party.

Abhisit draws his support from the south, the urban elite and the military, while Yingluck is liked by the poor.

But there are concerns about what a victory for Yingluck would mean for her brother, who faces a warrant for his arrest on terrorism charges related to last year's protests. He lives in self-imposed exile.

Yingluck's critics worry she is simply a puppet for her brother especially after his recent comment that she is his "clone." But she told CNN before Sunday's elections that she was "not a puppet."

"The cloning means the logical thinking and the management style because I work with him since like (my) first job. So I learned a style from him. But I can do (things) on my own. I can make decision with the leadership of the company or the party," Yingluck said during a recent interview.

Abhisit has said Thaksin's fingerprints are all over her campaign.

"He's got a lot of money. He's got his own network political and other in other circles. So he continues to exert and influence but the issue is that influence is now being exerted for his own interest at the cost of the country and we want to move the country beyond that," the current prime minister said.

The biggest worry he and his party supporters have is that Yingluck will make a move to try and bring her brother back to Thailand by offering special concessions to keep him out of jail.

Yingluck has denied the accusation. "I can't do anything special for my brother," she has said.

CNN's Kocha Olarn, Benjamin Gottlieb and Sara Sidner contributed to this report.

spacer.gif Find this article at: http://www.cnn.com/2....html?hpt=hp_t1

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