Yingluck Shinawatra was poised to become Thailand’s first female prime minister Sunday after her party won a majority of parliamentary seats in the nation’s general elections.
The official tally had not yet been completed, but with more than 90 percent of votes counted Sunday night, Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party had won 262 seats in the country’s 500-seat parliament.
“The first thing I want to do is help people on their economic situation,” she said earlier Sunday, refusing to declare victory until the official count was over.
Minutes before, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva conceded that she had won.
Yingluck is the younger sister of one of Thailand’s most polarizing political figures, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra who was ousted in a 2006 military coup.
Two years later, he left the country after being convicted on conflict of interest charges — accusations that he still denies.
Flags with his image waved in the sticky night air outside the Pheu Thai headquarters. A child wearing a shirt with his sister Yingluck’s picture on it walked past them, trying to get closer to the celebration outside.
Yingluck’s critics worry she will simply do her brother’s bidding — something she has denied.
Before she even gave her victory speech, her brother shared his comments from exile in Dubai.
“Well, I would tell them that I really want to go back, but I will wait for the right moment and the right situation,” Thaksin told reporters.
The Pheu Thai party remains fiercely behind Thaksin and wants him to return.
The so-called “Yellow Shirts,” a group that formed to oust Thaksin from power, will do whatever they can to stop that from happening.
What does his sister say about all this? CNN asked her three days before the election.
“I can’t do anything special for my brother so as long as if my brother will be every process we will follow by the rule of law,” Yingluck said.
With about 47 million eligible voters in Thailand, Sunday’s balloting was held to decide Thailand’s first general election since 2007, an election that many hope will bring an end to years of unrest between two political factions that climaxed last year with protests that turned deadly.
“There is a lot more hard work to do in the future for the well-being of our sisters and brothers, the people of Thailand,” Yingluck said Sunday. “There are many things to accomplish to make reconciliation possible, paving the way for a solid foundation for a flourishing nation.”