Thailand’s main opposition led by the sister of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra has won the country’s general election.
The current prime minister has conceded defeat after exit polls showed the Pheu Thai party were set to win a parliamentary majority.
Yingluck Shinawatra – a business executive with no background in politics – now looks likely to become the country’s first woman prime minister.
It’s a victory for the red-shirt movement of the urban and rural poor, whose hero Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted from power in a coup five years ago.
From Dubai he has responded to talk by supporters of a possible return, saying he is in “no hurry”.
“I would tell them that I really want to go back but I wait for the right moment and right situation,” he said.
The current Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has congratulated Yingluck Shinawatra on her victory, saying she has the right to form a government.
The results are a rebuke of the traditional influence of the military and establishment elite. The deep divisions in Thai society came to the fore last year, when a wave of protests paralysed part of downtown Bangkok and was eventually suppressed with violence.
Full results are due in the late evening. Many will be hoping that what looks like a wide margin of victory will prevent old tensions from spilling over again.