BANGKOK, Thailand – Loyalists of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra won nearly half the seats in Thailand’s parliamentary elections Sunday in a striking rebuke to the generals who forced the billionaire populist from power in 2006. The first vote since the coup appeared to be a recipe for continuing political instability: The failure of the pro-Thaksin People’s Power Party to capture an absolute majority in the 480-seat lower house of parliament opens the way for his opponents to form a government despite the PPP’s substantial mandate. With more than 95 percent of the vote counted, the People’s Power Party – established after Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai Party was disbanded by court order earlier this year – had won 228 seats, according to the state Election Commission. Complete results were due Monday. “I would like to call for all political parties to join us in forming a strong government,” PPP leader Samak Sundaravej said at a news conference. “I will certainly be the prime minister.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan ClarksonHe said Thaksin, who was in Hong Kong, had telephoned to offer his congratulations after hearing the results. The second-place Democrat Party took 165 seats. The PPP got most of its support from the rural north and northeast, where Thaksin’s programs, including universal heath care and generous village development funds, won a hard-core following. The Democrats ran strongest in Bangkok, where the 2006 movement to oust Thaksin was centered.