Thai PM survives no confidence vote

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra addressing reporters during a press conference at Government House in Bangkok. AFP PHOTO

Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra addressing reporters during a press conference at Government House in Bangkok. AFP PHOTO

BANGKOK: Thailand’s embattled prime minister easily survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote on Thursday as opposition protesters kept up their fight to try to topple her government by besieging major ministries.

The demonstrations are the biggest since mass rallies three years ago, which descended into the kingdom’s worst civil strife in decades with more than 90 people killed and nearly 1,900 wounded.

Lawmakers in the ruling party-dominated lower house rejected the censure motion 297-134, according to speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont.

The motion was filed by the opposition Democrat Party, which alleges widespread corruption in government and accuses Yingluck of acting as a puppet for her brother, the ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.


Yingluck—who denies the accusations—urged demonstrators to end their occupation of a number of key government buildings.

“They want to rally until the end of this month. I think they have expressed their political stand enough,” she said ahead of the vote.

Protesters are demanding the end of the “Thaksin regime” and want to replace the government with an unelected “people’s council.”

Thaksin, a billionaire tycoon-turned-politician, is adored by many of the country’s rural and urban working class.

But he is hated by many southerners, middle-class Thais and the Bangkok elite, who see him as corrupt and a threat to the monarchy.

The protests have triggered growing international concern, with United Nations leader Ban Ki-moon the latest world leader to voice alarm.

Ban “is concerned by the rising political tensions in Bangkok,” said his spokesman Martin Nesirky as protests spread beyond the Thai capital.

“The secretary general calls on all sides to exercise the utmost restraint, refrain from the use of violence and to show full respect for the rule of law and human rights.”

Protesters began marching towards the defense and education ministries on Thursday, a day after entering a major government complex in the north of the capital and forcing the evacuation of the Department of Special Investigations—Thailand’s equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

AFP

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