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Polls predict election victory for Thai opposition

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Polls predict election victory for Thai opposition


Thailand’s main opposition is heading for victory, according to exit polls with voting now over.
They predict a large majority for the Pheu Thai party, led by the sister of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra who is living in exile.
If confirmed it could pave the way for Yingluck Shinawatra to become the country’s first woman prime minister.
The election is seen as crucial after years of political turmoil and division between rich and poor.
The exit polls don’t look good for of current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. They suggest the support of the middle classes and the establishment has not been enough. The ruling Democrat Party is given barely 150 of 500 seats, compared to more than 300 for the opposition. 
What the result will mean for the long-standing rifts in Thai society is not immediately be clear.
The past five years have seen the rise of the red-shirt movement of the rural and urban poor. Protests last year paralysed part of Bangkok, and led to a bloody crackdown.  
Throughout the campaign both sides have talked of improving life for the poor, promising subsidies, better healthcare and transport.
But all eyes are on what will happen next.  Democracy in Thailand is fragile.  
The response of the military -  which has often intervened in the form of coups, the last in 2006 – will be crucial.
Fears of a return to violence are real. Some reports suggest the Pheu Thai camp has been talking with the generals about working together.

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