BANGKOK (Reuters) - The opposition won Thailand's general election by a landslide on Sunday, exit polls showed, paving the way for Yingluck Shinawatra to become the country's first female prime minister in a victory for a red-shirted political movement.
Television showed Yingluck, younger sister of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, swarmed by flashing cameras and journalists after exit polls showed her Puea Thai (For Thais) party winning a clear majority of the 500 seats in parliament.
SOMJAI PHAGAPHASVIVAT, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, THAMMASAT UNIVERSITY, BANGKOK:
"It is now a foregone conclusion that Puea Thai will lead the next government even by itself, but I expect it to bring in small coalition partners which will not only inflate its already sizeable majority but also further weaken the opposition.
"But what we should watch is on whether Puea Thai might exploit the overwhelming poll numbers, interpreting it as a public mandate for the party to bring Thaksin home quickly. If that is the case, it could aggravate political polarization down the road. So the Thaksin amnesty issue will determine where Thai politics is heading. It is going to be a potentially big destabilizing factor.
"This poll result can give Thailand a stable government and an opportunity for it to move forward in a positive way as it will smooth the way for the next government to do its job."
PARIN KITCHATORNPITAK, SENIOR ANALYST, FAR EAST SECURITIES
"The stock market could rise by as much as two to three percent. Undeniably, this is a majority vote (for Puea Thai) and there should be no objections."
"We expect more foreign inflows over the coming week."
KONGKIAT OPASWONGKARN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ASIA PLUS SECURITIES PCL
"People want change and they get it. It tells you that a majority of people still want most of things that the ex-prime minister had done for the country in the past.
"If the poll result is absolutely accurate, this is a landslide victory for Puea Thai. Winning by a big margin would ease the problem of military intervening and make it easier for them to form the government and implement all the policies.
"We expect a jump when the stock market opens next week and this is because it is a 'big win' with less risk of having military meddling with politics."
CHAKKRIT CHAROENMETACHAI, ANALYST, GLOBLEX SECURITIES
"The market will see a strong rebound on Monday with the index testing 1,070 at one point in the day.
"Foreign investors should be much less worried about possible intervention of the external power."
(Reporting by Ploy Ten Kate, Vithoon Amorn and Wilawan Pongpitak; Editing by Brian Rhoads)