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Thai Election Winner Moves to Form Coalition Government

Yingluck Shinawatra, the leader of Pheu Thai Party, center, arrives for a meeting with leaders of the coalition partners at a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, July 4, 2011
Yingluck Shinawatra, the leader of Pheu Thai Party, center, arrives for a meeting with leaders of the coalition partners at a hotel in Bangkok, Thailand, July 4, 2011

Yingluck Shinawatra, the leader of the victorious Pheu Thai party in Thailand’s Sunday elections, has announced plans for a new majority coalition in parliament. Her announcement came as outgoing Prime Minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, head of the Democrat Party, announced his resignation as leader following the party's defeat at the polls

Yingluck set to go

Pheu Thai Party leader Yingluck Shinawatra says she is ready to form a five-party coalition government. Her announcement came a day after her party dominated national elections with strong support from the north and northeast of Thailand. Unofficial results indicate her party is set to capture 264 seats in the 500-member parliament.

Yingluck, who is poised to be Thailand’s first female prime minister, told a Bangkok news conference Monday the new government's goal would be to solve the problems faced by the people.

Listen to analysis by Thai political scientist Thitinan Pongsudhirak

Yingluck says Pheu Thai and the other four parties have the same intentions, to administer the country and work to solve the problems of the people. But she added they still needed to wait for the official results from the country's election commission.

She said the urgent goals facing the new government include reconciliation, preparing for the Thai King's 84th birthday, economic recovery, support for civil servants and tackling corruption.

The new coalition could command as many as 299 seats in the 500 member parliament.

Vejjajiva resigns

Earlier in the day, outgoing Prime Minister and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva announced his resignation after the party's weekend defeat at the polls.

Abhisit said unofficial results indicate the party had fallen short of its 2007 election performance. As a result, he was taking responsibility for the defeat, and was resigning as leader of the Democrat Party.

His resignation means all party board members would also resign until a new one was elected.

Currency strengthening

Financial markets reacted positively to the election victory with the currency, the Thai Baht, and local stock markets strengthening. Analysts said foreign investors were returning to the Thai market after weeks of uncertainty prior to the poll.

Supavud Saicheua, managing director of Phatra Securities, says the moves to quickly form a coalition government indicated political stability in the near term. "The fact that Pheu Thai was able to win an absolute majority gives the market the belief, probably rightly the formation of the government would not be a problem. Chances are the government can be formed fairly quickly. So you would have a Yingluck coalition government in place within five to six weeks time," Saichaeua said.

But analysts say there are several challenges facing the new government, including inflationary fears as the Pheu Thai-led government implements election promises of higher wages and a doubling in rice prices.

Yingluck is the sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was deposed in a 2006 coup and fled Thailand in 2008. He still faces a two-year jail term in Thailand for corruption. The party has discussed a possible amnesty for Thaksin and others tied to events since the coup. But the former prime minister has said that while he wants to return to Thailand, he has no immediate plans to do so