The Thai parliament elected the nation’s first female prime minister Friday, with more than half the lawmakers backing her vote.
Yingluck Shinawatra has to be proclaimed by the nation’s king before she can officially take office. If King Bhumibol Adulyadej proclaims her, she will be the 28th prime minister in Thai history.
Yingluck won 296 votes in the nearly 500-member parliament.
“The first thing I want to do is help people on their economic situation,” she said last month.
Yingluck is the younger sister of one of Thailand’s most polarizing political figures, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a 2006 military coup.
He left the country two years later after being convicted on conflict of interest charges — accusations he denies.
Yingluck’s critics worry she will do her brother’s bidding — something she has denied.
“There is a lot more hard work to do in the future for the well-being of our sisters and brothers, the people of Thailand,” she said last month. “There are many things to accomplish to make reconciliation possible, paving the way for a solid foundation for a flourishing nation.”
Tensions between the Democratic Party and the Pheu Thai party, which reflect deep divisions within Thai society, erupted last year, leading to a military crackdown. More than 90 people were killed and hundreds were injured.
After the riots, the Thai government pledged to work toward national reconciliation to heal class and political divisions, though the divide between the two groups remains wide.