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

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

Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Sep 4, 2021. (Photo: AP/Sompong Sonnak)

BANGKOK: Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and five Cabinet ministers comfortably survived a vote of no-confidence in parliament on Saturday (Sep 4) as activists planned more protests against the government.

Prayut 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.

Prayut said he remained confident after the vote.

Lawmakers over four days accused his government of mishandling the COVID-19 pandemic and criticised him for the severe economic impact, taking aim at the government's slow vaccine roll-out as a result of not making advance vaccine orders and deciding not to join the international COVAX vaccine supply scheme.

Prayut 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 more than 1.2 million infections and more than 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 more than 23,000 cases.

The vaccine roll-out began in June amid the country's most severe outbreak, with people unable to find medical treatment and some dying at home. About 13 per cent 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 to 1.2 per cent from 1.5 to 2.5 per cent. The economy shrank 6.1 per cent last year.

Source: Reuters/dv

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