- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Election board endorses first female premier

BANGKOK — Thailand’s Election Commission on Tuesday certified the victory of Yingluck Shinawatra, clearing a major hurdle for her to become the country’s first female prime minister.

Mrs. Yingluck, the sister of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and incumbent Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva were among 142 candidates in the 500-member lower house of parliament whom the commission failed to endorse last week pending investigation of complaints that they violated electoral law.

Mr. Abhisit also was among the 12 winners endorsed Tuesday in the ruling announced by Commission Secretary-General Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn.

Mrs. Yingluck’s Pheu Thai party won 265 seats in the July 3 general election. Parliament must convene and elect her as prime minister before she can take office.

Parliament is supposed to open within 30 days of the election, but the house cannot legally convene unless 95 percent of its members are certified by the electoral body.

Thailand has been racked by political turmoil since Thaksin was ousted by a 2006 military coup after he was accused of corruption and disrespect for the monarchy.


U.S. promises counterterrorism aid

NEW DELHI — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday pledged robust counterterrorism cooperation with India while assuring Indian officials that the Obama administration won’t ease pressure on Pakistan to combat extremists or allow the Taliban to regain power in Afghanistan with a precipitous withdrawal of American troops.

While hailing improved U.S.-Indian ties, Mrs. Clinton also called on New Delhi to ease trade restrictions keeping U.S. firms out of India’s massive market and urged the government to quickly resolve a dispute over investments in nuclear energy.

But her meetings with top Indian officials focused largely on fighting terrorism, improving ties between nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan.

She made her second visit to India as America’s top diplomat less than a week after a triple bombing killed 20 people in India’s financial capital of Mumbai, the country’s worst terrorist strike since Pakistan-based gunmen rampaged through the city in 2008.


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