Thai Panel Certifies Yingluck’s Election, Easing Fears of Instability

Posted July 19th, 2011 at 7:35 am (UTC-5)
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Thailand's election commission on Tuesday endorsed the election to parliament of Pheu Thai leader Yingluck Shinawatra, clearing the way for her to become the nation's first female prime minister.

The commission said it had voted unanimously to dismiss complaints that Ms. Yingluck violated election laws by involving banned politicians — including her elder brother — in her campaign. The decision eases fears of instability raised by the commission's failure to endorse her with the majority of the July 3 election winners last week.

The commission also announced the endorsement of outgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, whose endorsement also was delayed last week. A total of 370 lawmakers have now been approved.

Under Thai election laws, the commission must approve at least 475 winning candidates in time for the new parliament to hold its first session by August 2. A coalition led by Ms. Yingluck's party is expected to elect her as prime minister at that time.

Opponents had complained that Ms. Yingluck violated election laws by allowing her brother Thaksin Shinawatra, to help plan and direct the Pheu Thai campaign. Thaksin is a former prime minister who was ousted in a 2006 coup and now lives in exile to avoid prison on a corruption conviction.

Mr. Abhisit's certification was delayed because of allegations he had participated in vote-buying, which the panel dismissed.