Outgoing PM Abhisit calls it quits after election defeat

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BANGKOK, July 4 – Outgoing prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has announced his resignation as Democrat Party leader after his party’s loss to the opposition Pheu Thai in Sunday’s election, with the number of seats lower than in the previous election in 2007.

The Oxford-educated prime minister made the announcement at the party’s headquarters in Bangkok Monday morning, saying he must show responsibility by stepping down to pave the way for the party to hold a meeting and select a new leader and new party executives within 90 days.

“As the poll results show the party receiving fewer seats than in the 2007 poll, as a good leader, I must take responsibility. I therefore have decided to resign from the party leadership,” he told a news conference.

He thanked party members, officials and his supporters for their emotional support for him. The Democrat party will review the party’s policies and he will continue his duties as an MP and a member of the Democrat Party.

Unofficial results of the July 3 election showed Pheu Thai party was set to win 265 seats of 500 parliament seats. The Democrats were on course to receive 159 seats. Voter turnout is 74 per cent. Meanwhile, the Election Commission will announce the unofficial complete result again later today.

After learning the unofficial results indicated that the Pheu Thai party had a clear majority in Parliament on Sunday, Mr Abhisit conceded defeat and congratulated the Pheu Thai party for having the opportunity to lead the next government. He also congratulated top Pheu Thai party list candidate Yingluck Shinawatra who will become Thailand’s first female Thai prime minister.