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Thaksin ‘clone’, Yingluck to be first female Thai Prime Minister
Published on 5 Jul. 2011 12:33 AM IST
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Thailand is set to have its first woman prime minister with Yingluck Shinawatra, 44, leading her party to a decisive win in parliament polls which saw voters rebuffing, for a second time, the army’s ouster of her brother from office five years ago.
Yingluck’s Phuea Thai party won 265 seats in the 500-member lower House of Parliament but it would seek a coalition with a small party. This is only the second time a party has won a clear majority in Thai parliament after her brother Thaksin Shinawatra’s landslide victory six years ago, states UNI.
Sunday’s vote paves way for Yingluck, who has never held office, to become this Southeast Asian kingdom’s first female Prime Minister. The US-educated successful businesswomen turned politician overnight, faces the daunting challenge of healing a deep and bitter national divide that climaxed in unprecedented deadly political violence last year. Political observers noted it will not be easy for her to overcome the impression that she is a political nominee for her brother and former prime minister Thaksin who has described her as his ‘clone’.
However, they acknowledged that her personal charisma was a significant boost to her party on the campaign trail. In media interviews before and after her win, Ms Yingluck has asserted she will not use public office to help her brother who has been living abroad since fleeing the country in 2008 to avoid a jail term for a tax evasion conviction.
Earlier, the outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva resigned as leader of his Democrat Party today owning responsibility for the crushing defeat at the hands of the opposition. “I have decided to resign because I could not lead my party to victory in the elections,” the suave Oxford-educated Abhisit said.
Democrat Party members will now meet to select a new leader. Abhisit’s government was criticized heavily for a crackdown on pro-Thakshin Red Shirt protesters last year. Meanwhile Yingluck said, Thailand’s new government intends to reopen a corruption case against ousted premier Thakshin but no special favour would be granted to him.
The corruption case slapped in 2006 had forced Thakshin out of Thailand and the fugitive leader has continued to remain in self-imposed exile in Dubai to escape a two-year jail term awarded over the charges. With a government led by his allies now back into power, Thakshin’s supporters hope he could return.
In an interview to CNN following a thumping victory in the general election, Yingluck Shinawatra said authorities will reopen an investigation into her brother Thaksin’s case though “rule of law” would be followed. “I can’t do anything special for my brother,” she said. The telegenic businesswoman-turned politician also said she has no plans to encourage her brother to return to Thailand to serve his sentence.

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