Sunday , March 7 2021

Thailand’s prime minister survives no-confidence vote as protest looms

Bloomberg

Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha survived a no-confidence vote in parliament after a four-day debate in which the opposition criticised his government for its handling of the Covid-19 outbreak, the economy and alleged corruption.
The no-confidence motion against the premier was rejected by 272 lawmakers, while 206 voted supported it, according to a televised broadcast of the proceedings in parliament on Saturday. Nine other ministers also survived no-confidence votes as the coalition parties supporting Prayuth’s government rallied
behind them.
“Although they all survived the votes, some of the ministers received fewer votes than others, and that points to a reshuffle in the next few months,” said Punchada Sirivunnabood, a Thai political analyst and an associate professor at Mahidol University near Bangkok. However, the government’s win suggests the ruling coalition would last its full term, she said.
The defeat of the second no-confidence vote since the 2019 elections will allow coup leader-turned-premier Prayuth to continue his government’s efforts in limiting the impact of a second wave of Covid-19 infections that’s threatening to derail a nascent economic recovery. At the same time, pro-democracy groups are likely to intensify their street campaign for the premier’s resignation, a rewriting of the constitution and monarchy reform.
During the four-day debate ahead of the votes, opposition lawmakers slammed Prayuth and some of his ministers for their alleged inept handling of the budget allocation and economic measures to deal with the impact of Covid-19 outbreak as well as a delayed
vaccination rollout. The government rejected those charges and defended its policies and strategy.
The Ratsadon, an umbrella group of pro-democracy activists, has called for a demonstration on Saturday in Bangkok to “step up” its movement after authorities lodged royal insult lawsuits against key leaders of the anti-government protests. The movement is calling for more transparency and accountability from the monarchy, which sits at the apex of power in Thailand.

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