Prime Minister of Thailand survives no-confidence vote

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Friday, June 27, 2008

Thailand's Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej and his cabinet survived a bitter no-confidence vote called by fellow members of parliament. The opposition called for a no confidence vote over allegations of economic mismanagement, and Samaks's alleged disregard for Thai sovereignty. The final vote saw 280 votes against the motion, and 162 cast as no-confidence.

Sharply criticism was levelled at the Minister of Commerce due to the sharp increase in prices of rice in the country; this despite the fact Thailand is a leading exporter of rice. Prices of fuel have inflicted a crippling blow to the Thai economy, something which is also blamed on Samak's leadership.

The opposition, supported by thousands of street protesters, slammed the PM's decision to enter into an early agreement with neighbour Cambodia over an ancient temple. Protesters claimed that Samak gave up a portion of Thai land with historical significance.

Another severely criticized cabinet minister was Finance Minister Surapong Subewonglee. He denied reports that there will be a cabinet reshuffle even after their administration survived the parliamentary challenge.

Protesters who started to camp outside Government House, the official residence of the Thai Prime Minister pledged to remain and will press on for Mr. Samak's resignation.

Samak was elected last December 2007 after months of a political transition from a coup that removed Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Protesters accused Mr. Samak of interfering in the investigation involving Thaksin's corruption and abuse of power.