Thai PM and ten ministers survive latest censure debate
After intense behind-the-scenes lobbying and horse-trading to secure the votes of MPs from the smaller parties, known as the Group of 16, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and 10 other ministers survived the 4-day Opposition censure vote this morning (Saturday).
The prime minister thanked the MPs for their support, saying that the result will serve as a morale booster for him to work harder for the country and the people.
He said that the debate was useful, as it will help improve the government’s performance in the future, as he promised to consider implementation of the Opposition’s recommendations.
The prime minister, who is also defence minister, received 256:206 votes, with nine abstentions. The highest vote of support went to Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, 268:193 with 11 abstentions. The lowest vote of support was for Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, 241:207 with 23 abstentions.
Meanwhile, Opposition and Pheu Thai party leader Chonlanan Srikaew conceded defeat, but vowed to challenge the government parties in the next general election.
He pointed out that the result of today’s vote contradicted the results of a poll, taken among a large group of people gathered in front of parliament for a parallel debate and online by the Ratsadon activist group, which showed 98.3% and 80% disapproval of the eleven ministers respectively.
Some Move Forward MPs placed artificial Chan flowers, commonly used in cremations, at a counter in front of the prime minister’s seat, as a gesture of protest against the vote result, prompting protests from a dissident Move Forward MP, Karom Polpornklang, who asked Parliament Speaker Chuan Leekpai to intervene.
Chuan responded, saying that such an act reflected a lack of ethical standards by specific MPs who are beyond control, but that it was not against the rules.
Voting results of the other eight ministers were:
- Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, 264:205 with three abstentions
- Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda, 245:212 with 13 abstentions
- Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, 262:205 with five abstentions
- Digital Economy and Society Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn, 249:205 with 18 abstentions
- Social Development and Human Security Minister Juti Krairiksh, 244:209 with 17 abstentions
- Deputy Finance Minister Santi Promphat, 249:204 votes with 18 abstentions
- Deputy Interior Minister Nipon Boonyamanee, 246:206 with 20 abstentions
- Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin, 243:208 with 20 abstentions