Democrats fear the Thai Rak Thai leader will still have the chance to install his cronies in the new parliament Celebrations were tinged with uncertainty last night as the announcement of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's impending departure reached the headquarters of his political nemesis, the Democrat Party. On the one hand came tremendous relief that their high-risk gamble of boycotting the election appeared to have paid off. Then came the realisation that Mr Thaksin retained the opportunity to reconvene a parliament without them. 'It is great news, but there are still a lot of steps to take,' deputy Democrat leader Korn Chatikavanij told the South China Morning Post. 'As ever with his man, the devil is in the details. We now have to be on guard against him stuffing the parliament and stuffing the executive branch with his cronies before he leaves,' he said. 'By not resigning now - as he suggested last night - he has created that opportunity for himself. 'We are still not sure how that parliament is going to be formed, and when and how there will be another election.' Those uncertainties hinge in part over the fact that a parliament still cannot be convened. The boycott saw some 38 Thai Rak Thai candidates unable to secure enough votes to legally fill a seat. By-elections now must be held to ensure all 500 seats can be filled to allow parliament to open. Appealing for Thais to reunite for the king - soon to celebrate his 60th year on the throne - Mr Thaksin also said he hoped Thais could forget the current troubles. The Democrats suggested they were not about to allow that to happen. Part of their strategy, after all, was to use the boycott to end concerns over Mr Thaksin's rule. They are now seeking to press that advantage to the full. The millions of protest 'no votes' that helped drive Mr Thaksin from power have given them their own mandate, his opponents believe. Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva agreed to run in a new election, but only if the telecoms billionaire quit now. 'I don't see why it couldn't happen today ... it was his offer - so he should stick to his word.' Mr Korn said the opposition would still push for their demand for an independent fact-finding commission into the 'excesses' of Mr Thaksin's rule. The party wants an examination of how Mr Thaksin was able to extend his reach into the independent institutions of state, including the Senate. It would also examine concessions granted by government bodies to the Shin Corp telecommunications conglomerate he founded. The US$1.9 billion sale of Shin Corp by his family to Singapore's Temasek Holdings brought urban protests to a flashpoint. The Democrats and protest groups are questioning the sale of strategic assets, such as Thailand's only satellites and an airline, and the tax-free nature of the deal. The issue is expected to form a key plank of the party's struggle to retain political legitimacy if it finds itself unable to get into parliament for the next four years. The decision to stay out of the election risked the future of the 60-year-old Democrat Party. 'We knew we were risking the very destruction of the party,' Mr Korn said earlier. 'We felt in the end it was a risk we had to take. There was no point colluding in a corrupt election that would have seen the opposition marginalised.'