Supporters of Thailand’s exiled former prime minister appear to have won the country’s general election.
Exit polls predict that the newly formed PPP party, under the leadership of Samak Sundaravej, has secured the most parliamentary seats, though possibly not enough for an outright majority.
Samak said he would allow Thaksin Shinawahtra to return from exile, but said the former leader would have to stand trial on corruption charges.
The question now is what the army will do if the PPP’s win is confirmed, given it ousted Thaksin in a bloodless coup last year.
The army, and apparently Thailand’s King, would prefer Abhisit Vejjajiva to win, the leader of the opposition Democrat party. But it’s thought his party has come second.
Under the 15-month-old military caretaker government the position of prime minister in Thailand has been weakened. Critics say that threatens democracy in the country.
The army has promised that there will not be another coup. But it will pay close attention to allegations of fraud and vote rigging, and could well put pressure on other parties not to join a coalition with the PPP.