Exit polls indicate pro-Thaksin party lead in Thai election

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Polling station in Uttaradit Province, Thailand on December 23, 2007.
Image: Tevaprapas.

Initial exit polls for Thailand's general election suggest the People Power Party (PPP), allied with the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, has a clear lead. The poll predicted the party would win 202 out of the total of 480 seats, although a survey by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University suggested the party may win as many as 256 seats.

In September 2006 a bloodless military coup overthrew Shinawatra. Following the coup, Thai Rak Thai—Thaksin's party—was disbanded amid corruption allegations. With the coup timed such that Prime Minister was in New York, he went into self-imposed exile in the UK. His supporters, who were not banned from politics, formed the People Power Party. They have benefited from Thaksin's popularity in rural areas.

If the lower prediction of 202 seats is correct it is possible that the People Power Party will not form a government. According to a Reuters report in the Washington Post the caretaker government and military leaders are likely to oppose PPP forming a coalition government.

According to the DPA, Thaksin observed the elections from Hong Kong, instead of his London residence. The PPP have—if elected—committed to his return on February 14 next year.

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