03 Jul '11, 1am

Polls open in Thailand; big parties deeply divided

BANGKOK (AP) — Five tumultuous years after a military coup divided this Southeast Asian kingdom, Thailand held pivotal elections Sunday that will determine whether it can end the long-running political crisis that has shattered its reputation for stability. Many people fear the ballot, the first since last year's anti-government demonstrations brought Bangkok to its knees, could trigger a new era of upheaval if the results are not accepted by rival protesters or the coup-prone army. Television stations reported long lines at polling stations nationwide as registered voters chose a new 500-member parliament. Security was tight, with around 170,000 police deployed nationwide to protect booths, but no incidents of violence were immediately reported. Opposition leader Yingluck Shinawatra, whose Pheu Thai party is considered a strong front-runner, was among the first to vote, d...

Full article: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/polls-open-thailand-big-parties-...

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