Thailand’s prime minister survives no-confidence vote

BANGKOK (AP) – Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha survived a no-confidence vote yesterday amid allegations that his government mismanaged the economy, bungled the provision of COVID-19 vaccines, abused human rights and fostered corruption.

Nine other ministers also survived the vote. It marked the second no-confidence test Prayut’s government has faced since taking office in July 2019, following a contested election after Prayut seized power in a 2014 coup as the army chief. In February last year, Prayut and five Cabinet ministers easily defeated a no-confidence vote in the lower house.

In the latest motion, his government was also criticised for misusing its power to promote police officials and for establishing a cyber unit to attack government critics on social media, among other complaints.

Prayut said the debate in Parliament was “a good opportunity for both sides to do something together for our country and people. And I am ready to clarify every allegation”.

Of the 487 lawmakers, 277 are part of the ruling coalition and 210 are with the opposition. The censure motion would require a simple majority, or 244 votes, to pass. Prayut received 272 votes with 206 voting no-confidence and three remaining silent.

On Friday evening, hundreds of protesters held a mock censure motion against Prayut and the other ministers on the street in front of the Parliament building, calling out their alleged corruption and noting their failure to address rising financial inequality in Thailand.