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Prime Minister holds on to post

Article published on the 2008-06-27 Latest update 2008-06-27 16:38 TU

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej smiles during the no-confidence vote(Photo: Reuters)

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej smiles during the no-confidence vote
(Photo: Reuters)

The beleaguered Thai Prime Minister, Samak Sundaravej, survived a no-confidence vote in Parliament. In his four months in power, Samak has faced massive protests, by the movement which helped bring down his predecessor, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was removed in a military coup in 2006. As expected, Samak's political coalition held together and the majority of parliament voted to keep him as premier.

The vote came in with 280 MPs voting in support of Samak and 162 against him.

"The result of today's vote will make government more confident, and the Prime Minister and the cabinet ministers can go on working," said Finance Minister Surapong Suebwonglee, who was also targeted by the no-confidence vote. "The debate will show that we rely on parliament to solve our problems, and it will improve the political atmosphere."

The Prime Minister and his cabinet were questioned for three days by opposition MPs who accused Samak of mismanaging the government and interfering in corruption cases against Thaksin.

His government has also been accused of not defending the monarchy and not managing food prices.

Some in Samak's coalition government said they expected a cabinet reshuffle. Banharn Silpa-archa, head of the Chart Thai party expects a reshuffle to involve “many ministers”.

The vote did not deter protesters who have taken to the streets of Bangkok for over a month.

"We place no hope in parliament, and the outcome of the vote was exactly what we expected," said Chamlong Srimuang, a leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, which also led protests against Thaksin in the months before the coup.