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Yingluck Shinawatra Takes Early Lead In Thai Election Polls

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Uploaded on May 26, 2011

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With her telegenic good looks and powerful political support, Yingluck Shinawatra is shaking up Thai politics. The candidate for prime minister is the sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawat. She's taken an early lead in opinion polls, as Thailand prepares for its first parliamentary election since political violence last year.

Thai Prime Minister candidate Yingluck Shinawatra has taken an early lead in opinion polls for the July 3 vote.

The 43-year-old businesswoman and sister of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is gaining considerable support in the rural north and northeast heartland. That's where her brother remains a populist hero five years after he was toppled in a coup.

[Yingluck Shinawatra, Thai Prime Minister Candidate]:
"This election is important in that we will have genuine democracy. So, I'd like to urge everyone to accept the result which will be the real decision from the people."

Yingluck is campaigning to revive Thaksin's populist policies and raise living standards.

She also seeks to end Thailand's bloody five-year political crisis, vowing to pursue reconciliation without seeking vengeance for her brother's overthrow.

[Yingluck Shinawatra, Thai Prime Minister Candidate]:
"The first priority is to solve the economic problem for the people. And then to find way to reach reconciliation and unity, which will need help from consulting every faction on how to bring happiness back to the country."

Many of Yingluck's supporters idolize her brother as the first leader to pay attention to the millions living beyond Bangkok's bright lights. Yet the reigning government, military and royalist elite view him as a terrorist and a crony capitalist.

Current prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva (PRO ab-hi-sit way-JAH-jay-vah) says the current call for a broad amnesty for political offences is purely for Thaksin's benefit, and could trigger a repeat of the protests and violence that killed 91 people in April and May last year.

Yingluck says it's not the case.

[Yingluck Shinawatra, Thai Prime Minister Candidate]:
"Thaksin Shinnawatra may get equal right (for amnesty). I will not act (to get amnesty) only for one person. And I will do it under the rules of law and equality of rights. Anyway, whatever I will do I will stand by the interest of majority of the people."

Thai politics has for some time suffered intractable political malaise, characterized by deadly street violence, military crackdowns, and governments forced from office.

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