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NEWS UPDATES 2 June 2010

Thai PM survives opposition censure

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Thailand's prime minister on Wednesday survived a no-confidence motion lodged by the opposition accusing him of brutally suppressing last month's mass protests in the capital, according to the Associated Press and other reports.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, defending himself against a censure motion in Parliament on Tuesday, promised there would be an independent investigation into whether the army used undue force to clear anti-government protesters from Bangkok's streets.

During 10 weeks, 89 people - mostly civilians - died from street clashes, grenade attacks and sniper fire, and some 1,800 people were wounded.

During two days of acrimonious debate, the opposition Puea Thai Party charged that the army's use of live ammunition and armored personnel carriers to break up the protests was excessive and resulted in civilian casualties. The thousands of Red Shirt protesters had been calling for Abhisit to dissolve Parliament immediately and call new elections.

Members of the lower house of Parliament voted 246-186 to reject the motion against Abhisit, while others either abstained or neither agreed nor disagreed with the motion. Five government ministers also received similar votes.

The government needed at least 238 votes from a total number of 475 lawmakers to survive the motion. The six-party coalition consists of 275 lawmakers, while the opposition has 200.

The prime minister has yet to set a date for elections, saying some stability has to be restored before balloting can be held.


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