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6 injured in Thai election blasts

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BANGKOK, Thailand (CNN) -- Bombs exploded at three polling stations Sunday in Thailand's troubled southern region, injuring two policemen and four soldiers in Narathiwat, one of three Muslim-majority provinces plagued by a separatist insurgency.

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who critics have accused of corruption and abuse of power, called the general election three years early because of growing anti-government street protests aimed at ousting him from office.

Election results were expected late Sunday.

Three opposition parties in Parliament boycotted the balloting in an effort to make it impossible to fill all 500 seats, which must be filled for a new government to be formed.

Thaksin has promised to leave his post if his Thai Rak Thai party receives less than 50 percent of the vote.

More than 1,200 people have died in the southern insurgency in clashes and revenge killings.

Opponents of the billionaire leader have accused him of abusing the country's system of checks and balances and bending government policy to benefit his family's business.

Anti-government protests grew when his family announced it had sold its controlling stake in telecom company Shin Corp. to Singapore's state-owned Temasek Holdings for a tax-free $1.9 billion.

-- CNN Correspondent Ram Ramgopal contributed to this report

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