Thailand’s Abhisit Vejjajiva admits defeat

Updated Monday, July 4, 2011 0:22 am TWN, AFP at China Post
Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand's prime minister, speaks during Thailand Focus 2011 in Bangkok. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Abhisit Vejjajiva, Thailand's prime minister, speaks during Thailand Focus 2011 in Bangkok. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

BANGKOK — Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Sunday conceded defeat in a hotly contested general election and congratulated a victorious opposition allied to fugitive ex-leader Thaksin Shinawatra.

“The outcome is clear — Pheu Thai has won the election and the Democrats are defeated,” he told supporters at the party’s Bangkok headquarters.

Thaksin’s political proxy, his youngest sister Yingluck Shinawatra, is now set to become Thailand’s first female prime minister.

“I will give the chance to Yingluck, the first woman to form a government. I want to see unity and reconciliation. The Democrats are ready to be in opposition,” Abhisit said.

British-born Abhisit took office in a 2008 parliamentary vote after a court ruling threw out the previous administration, and he was accused by his foes of being an unelected puppet of the military and the establishment.

His Democrat Party, with traditional support in Bangkok and the south, has not won a general election in nearly two decades.

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