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Thai PM survives opposition attack


June 27, 2008

Censure motion: Thai PM survives opposition attack
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej won a vote of no-confidence in parliament Friday, which was not unexpected as the ruling coalition wields a wide majority.

Samak, who took over from a military-run administration four months ago, gained a simple majority of MPs in an electronic ballot.

"There are 442 MPs attending today's meeting. One hundred and sixty-two voted against Samak and 280 voted to support Prime Minister Samak," House Speaker Chai Chidchob told parliament.

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"Therefore Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej can continue his premiership."

Votes on seven other Cabinet ministers are expected later Friday morning. The vote follows three days of debate in which Samak was grilled by opposition MPs accusing him of mismanaging government.

Samak had vowed to step down if he lost, but analysts didn’t see that happening because Samak's six-party coalition dominates two-thirds of the 480-seat lower house.

While the prime minister has escaped losing his position, he still faces pressure from street protesters led by the so-called People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD), which brought 25,000 people to the gates of Samak's offices last Friday, and vowed to continue protests until Samak steps down.

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