Sunday, September 26, 2021

Thai PM survives no-confidence vote as more anti-govt protests planned

Prayuth Chan-ocha received 264 votes in favour and 208 against.

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and five cabinet ministers comfortably survived a vote of no confidence in parliament on Saturday as activists planned more protests against the government.

Prayuth received 264 votes in favour and 208 against. Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and four other cabinet ministers also survived the censure motion in similar fashion.

The opposition needed 242 of the 482 parliamentary votes to oust the prime minister.

Prayuth said he remained confident after the vote.

Lawmakers over four days accused his government of mishandling the pandemic and criticised him for the severe economic impact, taking aim at the government’s slow vaccine rollout as a result of not making advance vaccine orders and deciding not to join the international Covax vaccine-supply scheme.

Prayuth has stood by those decisions.

This is the third censure motion the government has survived and comes as pro-democracy protesters plan more demonstrations on Saturday.

Recent rallies have turned violent, with security forces using tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets against protesters who threw stones and firecrackers.

Thailand has reported over 1.2 million infections and over 12,000 coronavirus-related deaths, most of them since April due to the Delta variant.

Authorities reported the largest single-day increase in cases in mid-August with over 23,000 cases.

The vaccine rollout began in June amid the country’s most severe outbreak, with people unable to find medical treatment and some dying at home. About 13% of Thailand’s more than 66 million have been fully vaccinated.

The government cut its 2021 economic growth forecast for a third time, to 0.7%-1.2% from 1.5%-2.5%. The economy shrank 6.1% last year.

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