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Exit Polls Point To Win For Thai Opposition Party

Exit polls in Thailand indicate a big win for the party of Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of antigovernment "red shirt" movement leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
If confirmed by the election commission, which is expected to release official results later on July 3, the win would usher in the country's first female prime minister and further embolden the antigovernment protesters, many of whom supported her Pheu Thai (For Thais) party.
Sixty-four-year old Pheu Thai supporter Suchart Wattanasoontorna told Reuters that he already had expectations for the group.

"I want them to make the reconciliation plan their first priority, and the development of the country can come second," Wattanasoontorna said.
Exit polls show Yingluck's opposition party making significant gains in the 500 parliamentary seats up for election.
The vote was the first major electoral test for the government since mass opposition rallies paralyzed Bangkok last year, leaving some 90 people dead and 2,000 people wounded.
Yingluck's party is closely tied to the country's popular former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who led the country from 2001 until his overthrow in a 2006 military coup.
A hero to the rural poor -- many of whom took part in the "red shirt" antigovernment protests in recent months -- Thaksin's emergence in Thai politics has brought the country's severe class divisions to a head.
The election is being seen as a test of the country's stability after six years of political upheaval.

compiled from agency reports