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Former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit steps down as leader of Democrat Party after poor election result

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Former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit steps down as leader of Democrat Party after poor election result
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Former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has stepped down as the leader of the Democrat Party after poor results in the country's first general election since the 2014 military coup.

Thailand's oldest political party came in in fourth place in the popular vote, getting just a little more than three million votes, according to partial results released by the Election Commission, with 91% of votes counted.

"I must take responsibility for this. I resign from my leadership of the Democrat Party," said Abhisit, who was prime minister from 2008 to 2011.

About 50 million people are expected to cast their vote in a political fight which is mostly between the military and the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

It has been a long-awaited poll after the army repeatedly postponed it, despite promising - when they came to power five years ago - to restore democracy.

And even now, candidates are concerned whether it will be carried out fairly.

Candidate, Sudarat Kayurapan, said: "What concerns people the most now is cheating in the election because it will distort people's will. It will distort what people really want in this election."

Unofficial results are likely to emerge shortly after polling stations close on Sunday but it could be several days or even weeks before the full political picture is made clear.