Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Right for a change
Looks like the United States is saying all the right things after Thailand's People's Power Party was the clear victor in Monday's parliamentary election, the country's first since a military coup in 2006. The PPP, which formed after deposed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Thai Rak Thai party was disbanded by court order earlier this year, won nearly half the seats in the Thailand parliament's 80-seat lower house, according to the Reuters international news service. The pro-military Democrat Party finished well behind in second place. The U.S. State Department said it welcomed the results and applauded Thailand's return to democratic government after its 18th coup in the last 75 years. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called on all sides "to respect the results" following the resolution of voting fraud claims. But the return to democracy is not over yet. The PPP still must form a coalition with one of the other five parties that won seats in Monday's balloting. Thailand's military seized power after Thaksin's 2005 re-election election was declared invalid by the courts and forced the former prime minister into exile. Thaksin, who greatly increased aid and services to the poor, said he would return to Thailand but would not return to politics.