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Thai PM elect unrattled by election probe
Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand's PM elect, is certain she will survive an investigation into alleged campaign violations.
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2011 08:24
Yingluck says she's confident her party will emerge unscathed from probes into alleged election violations [Reuters]

Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand's prime minister-elect, says she is unfazed by investigations by the country's election authorities which have delayed endorsement of her victory at the polls earlier this month.

Thailand's Election Commission (EC) approved 358 of the 500 winning candidates during a marathon meeting on Tuesday but held back on endorsing the remaining 142, including Yingluck, whose Puea Thai Party won the July 3 election in a landslide.

The EC has until the end of the month to process dozens of complaints and approve 95 per cent of the winners, or 475 seats, in order to endorse the poll and allow parliament to convene and start the process of choosing a prime minister.

Yingluck, a 44-year-old businesswoman who will be Thailand's first female prime minister, said she was confident that she and her party would be given "justice" despite allegations of campaign irregularities.

"We respect public opinion and the work of the Election Commission," said Yingluck.

Other leading politicians still awaiting approval include Abhisit Vejjajiva, the outgoing prime minister, and several senior members of his Democrat Party, which will return to the opposition benches after winning 159 seats. 

The complaints against Yingluck and her party centred on alleged campaign violations, including illegal assistance from banned politicians. 

Undue influence?

Yingluck's brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, the self-exiled former prime minister has been a dominant force in her campaign and analysts say the revival of his populist policies and use of his name as a political brand helped galvanise her supporters.

But Yingluck's opponents have cried foul and claim banned allies of Thaksin, who was overthrown in a 2006 coup and jailed in absentia for graft, played a big role in directing her campaign.

The EC also said Puea Thai's slogan "Thaksin thinks, Puea Thai acts" could be deemed a poll violation. 

Puea Thai won a 265-seat majority in the 500-member House of Representatives on July 3 following more than two years in the opposition. The party's two predecessors, Thai Rak Thai and People's Power, were both dissolved by courts for electoral violations, with a combined 148 politicians banned. 

Puea Thai has agreed to form a six party coalition controlling 300 seats, pending approval. The second-biggestparty, Chart Thai Pattana, won just 19 seats.

Yingluck said Puea Thai's controversial slogan invoking Thaksin's name had been misinterpreted."This is only a matter of opinion and advice, not an attempt to manage or make decision for the party," said Yingluck.

Thaksin, a 61-year-old billionaire, has lived mostly in Dubai to evade serving a two-year prison sentence for abuse of power by a Thai court in 2008.

He has been at the centre of a six-year political conflict broadly pitting his mostly rural and urban poor supporters against middle classes, conservatives and army generals who accuse him of corruption, authoritarianism and disloyalty to the country's monarchy.

Source:
Agencies
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