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Last Updated: Monday, 24 December 2007, 12:41 GMT
Thaksin party 'can form alliance'
PPP leader Samak Sundaravej shows a victory sign after press conference at the party headquarters in Bangkok (23/12/2007)
PPP leader Samak Sundaravej said he would be the next PM 'for sure'
The party which won most seats in Thailand's election has claimed it has the backing of enough smaller parties to form a ruling coalition.

But a People Power Party (PPP) spokesman declined to say which parties had agreed to join it.

The PPP, allied to ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra, did not gain enough seats in Sunday's poll to rule outright.

The rival Democrat party still hopes it can form its own coalition and keep the PPP out of power.

According to unofficial election results, the PPP won 232 seats in Sunday's poll, while the Democrats won 165.

The PPP needs to gain at least nine more seats if it is to take office.

However, BBC correspondents in Bangkok say the political landscape is still uncertain.

More negotiations are likely in the coming weeks and smaller parties may come under pressure from the military not to form a coalition with PPP.

Vote investigations

Surapong Suebwonglee, secretary general of the PPP, told a press conference in Bangkok: "Other parties have agreed to join a coalition, which would give us more than half of the seats in parliament."

Graphic
"Now we will wait for the Election Commission to ratify the result. When it is ratified, we will move forward with forming the government."

The results of Sunday's polls will not be finalised until the Election Commission has investigated allegations of vote-buying, which could lead to some seats being re-contested.

The commission is due to announce its findings in early January.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has said that if the PPP cannot form a coalition then his party will.

The two other major parties, Chart Thai and Puea Pandin, have said they will act together in forming alliances with other parties.

Their decision of who to align with could prove crucial.

Theoretically, if all the smaller parties form a coalition with the Democrats, they could prevent the PPP from taking office.

Coup rejected

The election was the first since the 2006 bloodless coup which removed Mr Thaksin from power.

POST-COUP TIMELINE
September 2006: Coup overthrows Thaksin Shinawatra
October 2006: Retired General Surayud Chulanont is appointed interim leader
May 2007: Court bans Mr Thaksin from politics for five years, and dissolves his party
August 2007: Voters approve a new constitution
December 2007: Election held

Since the coup, the country has been ruled by a military-appointed interim administration.

In May the courts banned Mr Thaksin from taking part in politics for five years and dissolved his party, Thai Rak Thai.

But many of Thai Rak Thai's members decided to continue in politics, and formed the PPP.

PPP leader Samak Sundaravej has openly said that he is a proxy for Mr Thaksin and will bring the former prime minister back to Thailand from exile if he takes office.

Analysts say the success of the PPP shows that the public has rejected the coup and continues to support Mr Thaksin, particularly in rural areas.

Questions remain over how the military will respond if the PPP takes office, especially if Mr Thaksin returns.



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