Thai PM and ministers win censure bid


Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and five Cabinet members yesterday comfortably won in a no-confidence vote after two-day censure debate in the parliament.

Prime Minister Abhisit, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, Deputy Finance Minister Pradit Phataraprasit, Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul and Deputy Interior Minister Boonjong Wongtrairat were accused of malfeasance and violation of the Constitution by the opposition led by Puea Thai Party.
Out of 449 members of the House of Representatives, Abhisit, as well as Korn, Pradit, Chavarat and Boonjong, received 246 votes of confidence each while Kasit, who was grilled for his role in supporting the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protests which led to the siege of Bangkok’s airports late last year, won 237 votes.

Foreign Minister Kasit, who clearly said during the debate that he was once in an advisory team of former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra but later left after learning of some inappropriate conducts and abuses of power of Thaksin, told reporters that his spirits are still high and he will continue to work hard for the country.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abhisit said although the foreign minister received the least number of supporting votes, it represents no problem for the government and the minister could continue working for the government.
“There’s no plan for a cabinet reshuffle. It’s expected that the morale of the government would improve after the end of the no-confidence debate,” added the premier.

Abhisit’s government came into power last December after political turbulence and PAD protests that toppled two governments led by Thaksin’s supporters last year.

The Puea Thai Party is the latest incarnation of Thaksin’s now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party with over 180 members of the parliament, who had moved from the People Power Party, which was also disbanded by a court order last December after one of its executives was convicted of vote-buying.

Thaksin led Thailand from 2001 until he was ousted by a military coup in September 2006. He fled the country in August last year shortly before a court sentenced him to two years in jail for breaking a conflict of interest law while he was in power.