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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:32, February 07, 2005
Thai Rak Thai Party wins overwhelming majority in general election
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Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra declared victory in Sunday's election in what appeared to be a massive mandate for an unprecedented second term.

"The numbers are more than enough to establish a one-party government," Thaksin declared, although he said he would "wait for the final count for the exact numbers" and that "to be polite" he would talk to his current coalition partner, the Chart Thai party, about the shape of a new government.

The ruling Thai Rak Thai Party secured an overwhelming majority in Sunday's general election, which would render current Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinavatra an unprecedented second term, according to an exit polling result.

The exit poll, jointly conducted by six television channels and a Bangkok university, showed that Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party would garner 399 seats of the 500-member House of Representatives with the opposition Democratic Party was cornered to obtain only 80 seats.

The Chart Thai party, an alliance in the Thaksin government for the last four years, will win 20 seats while the newly formed Mahachon will get only one seat, according to the poll.

The landslide victory marks the first time in the Thai history that a single party has captured a majority of the parliamentary seats in a free election.

The win, which easily exceeds Thaksin's previous goal to seek 350 seats in the parliament, also enables him to become the kingdom's first civilian prime minister to serve out a full four-year term.

Opposition leader Banyat Bantadtan quickly conceded defeat after the projection.

"I was shocked when I saw the exit polls. However, we have to accept it whatever the official results will be since it's the people's mandate," he said.

He also called on the Chat Thai and Mahachon parties to join hands with the Democrats to "check and balance the government for the sake of the country."

Banyat earlier complained that the vote buying was much more rampant in this year's election compared to the last election.

The Democrats had hoped to limit the ruling party's victory by gathering 201 House seats, the minimum amount to raise a no-confidence motion against the prime minister.

The projection raised fear among critics that Thaksin will ignore all criticism and set up "parliamentary dictatorship" if his party commands a massive majority in the legislature.

Throughout Thailand's 400 constituencies, voting proceeded smoothly during the seven-hour-long balloting.

With beefed up security, the country's deep South, where bloodshed occurred almost on a daily basis, saw no violence in the day, said police.

Official results from across the kingdom will trickle in throughout Sunday night and the Election Commission (EC) expects to have a final result by 11 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Monday.


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