Ousted Thai leader's party declares victory

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Bangkok, Dec 23 (UNI) Leader of the Thai political party backed by ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra declared victory tonight as preliminary unofficial results of today's national election gave him a clear edge over poll rivals.

Samak Sundaravej, 72, who had declared himself as a 'nominee' of Mr Thaksin at a press conference here, said he was ready to be the country's new democratically-elected prime minister.

Mr Samak, with a right-wing past, said Mr Thaksin had phoned him tonight to congratulate him on the election outcome.

He said he would like to invite all parties to join the government.

According to unofficial results so far, Mr Samak's People Power Party (PPP) has won a majority in the 480-member lower house of the Parliament.

''I am confident that I will become the next Prime Minster, because my party has nearly half of House seats now. Thaksin has called me to say congratulations to the new prime minister,'' he told reporters.

Speaking to foreign journalists, Mr Samak said his party's victory was a victory of the Thai people.


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