Ex-PM's Sis Sweeps to Victory in Thai Vote

Yingluck Shinawatra set to assume power
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 3, 2011 9:57 AM CDT
Thailand Elections: Ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra's Sister Yingluck Sweeps to Power
Thai people queue up at a polling center to vote in Thailand's general election on Sunday, July 3, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand.   (Vincent Yu)

The sister of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra led Thailand's main opposition party to a landslide victory in elections Sunday, heralding an extraordinary political turnaround five tumultuous years after her fugitive billionaire brother was toppled in an army coup. The vote paves the way for 44-year-old Yingluck Shinawatra, who has never held office, to become this Southeast Asian kingdom's first female prime minister.

A large mandate to govern could help the new government navigate a way out of out of the crisis that has plagued Thailand since Thaksin's 2006 overthrow. Thaksin was barred from politics years ago after a graft conviction, and the US-educated Yingluck, who he calls "my clone," is widely considered his proxy. With 94% of the vote counted, preliminary results indicated Yingluck's Pheu Thai party had a strong lead with 261 of 500 parliament seats. Speaking to a throng of cheering supporters, Yingluck declined to declare victory until final results are released. But she said: "I don't want to say that Pheu Thai wins today. It's a victory of the people." (More Thailand stories.)

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