Thailand PM Prayuth survives fourth confidence vote

Former army chief survives four days of questioning to guarantee his place as prime minister until his term ends in March.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has survived a no-confidence vote in parliament, in his last major test ahead of a general election that is due in less than a year.

After four days of grilling, which was broadcast live on television, the 68-year-old former army chief secured enough votes on Saturday to guarantee his place as prime minister until his term ends in March.

The opposition has accused Prayuth and his government of corruption and economic mismanagement, and needed more than 239 of the 477 parliamentary votes to remove him.

In the end, Prayuth got 256 votes with 206 going against him. There were nine abstentions.

It was the fourth time Prayuth’s performance in office 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, who initially seized power in a coup in 2014, has rejected the claim.

A screen in parliament showing the results of the no-confidence vote. The opposition accuses Prayuth of corruption and economic mismanagement [Chalinee Thirasupa/Reuters]

The previous confidence vote was last September when Prayuth’s government secured 264 votes amid questions over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Protests calling for the prime minister to step down and new elections to be held have been going on for two years, and recent opinion polls show Prayuth’s popularity declining.

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

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