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Thai PM Claims Victory In Snap Elections

  • VOA News

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has claimed victory for his Thai Rak Thai party in Sunday's general elections.

In a television interview late Monday, Mr. Thaksin said his party got about 16 million votes, while there were 10 million protest votes against him. He had promised to resign if he did not win a majority of votes.

During the interview, the Thai leader proposed creating an independent commission made up of former prime ministers, supreme court chiefs and heads of Parliament to resolve the political impasse. He offered to resign if the panel suggested that he do so, but the opposition rejected the offer.

Mr. Thaksin called the election three years early to try to stop anti-government protests. But the opposition boycotted the polls, which is likely to leave some parliamentary seats vacant. That would make it legally impossible to form a new government without another round of elections.

The head of the opposition Democrat Party, Abhisit Vejjajiva, said the results show many people did not believe an election was the way to resolve the current leadership crisis.

Organizers have held weekly protests since January against Mr. Thaksin's government for alleged corruption and abuse of office. Protesters are angered by his family's tax-free sale of nearly two billion dollars worth of shares in a company Mr. Thaksin founded.

The prime minister first came under criticism in October when critics accused him of using costly defamation lawsuits to silence his opponents and consolidate power. He later dropped the lawsuits.

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