Thai PM survives 4th no-confidence vote in parliament

Thai PM survives 4th no-confidence vote in parliament
Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha attends a special parliament session to discuss the current political situation and the ongoing anti-government protests in Bangkok, Thailand, on Oct 26, 2020.
PHOTO: Reuters

BANGKOK - Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha survived a no-confidence vote in parliament on Saturday, emerging on top in his last major test ahead of a general election due within 11 months.

The 68-year-old former army chief, in power since a coup he led in 2014, secured the required votes to guarantee his place as premier until his term ends in March.

Prayuth received 256 votes in favour and 206 against with nine abstentions. The opposition had needed more than 239 of the 477 parliamentary votes to oust him.

The prime minister and 10 cabinet members underwent four days of grilling live on television from an opposition that accused them of corruption and economic mismanagement, in an effort to discredit the ruling 17-party coalition before the next polls. 

It was the fourth time Prayuth's performance had been put to a vote since he was chosen by the house to remain prime minister in 2019, following an election the opposition said was held under rules designed to keep him in power. Prayuth has rejected that assertion.

Despite recent opinion polls showing his popularity declining, Prayuth had been expected to prevail, according to political analysts, some of whom saw the censure motion as a move by the opposition to court public support ahead of the next election.

Prayuth has given no indication of when an election will be called.

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