Thai PM set to win final no-confidence vote before election

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BANGKOK — Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is expected to win his fourth and final no-confidence vote in parliament on Saturday, ahead of next year’s general election.

The vote comes after four days of debate targeting Prayuth and 10 of his cabinet members. The opposition blamed his government’s economic mismanagement for rising public debt and its failure to prevent corruption.

Prayuth, a retired general, has survived three no-confidence motions since 2020 and is expected to win as his coalition government has a parliamentary majority, analysts say. No targeted cabinet minister has ever been ousted by a vote of no confidence in Thailand’s parliamentary history. Prayuth, 68, came to power in a 2014 coup and was later elected in the 2019 general election.

Asst. Professor Wanwichit Boonprong, professor of political science at Rangsit University in Bangkok, said the number of votes Prayuth obtained could affect the stability of his government and dictate how political alliances will form for the general elections due in March next year.

“We have to keep an eye on the smaller parties. I think the votes might fluctuate because of them. It will also reflect the stability of the governing coalition,” he said.

The coalition government has 253 parliamentary seats against 224 for the opposition. Each of the targeted Cabinet members must obtain at least 239 votes to survive.

During the past four days of the censorship debate, Prayuth has been a key target from opposition parties. Chief Opposition Whip Sutin Klungsang concluded that Prayuth’s main failing was economic management. Prayuth, who is also defense minister, has also been accused of spying on political dissidents using Pegasus spyware and embezzling the country’s budget.

The opposition also accused Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul of legalizing cannabis without proper controls.

Prayuth defended his government’s record, noting that Thailand’s economy is stable despite rising energy prices and high inflation. “For the remaining 250 days of government, I insist that I will do everything to get the country out of the crisis as soon as possible,” he said.

The government expects the economy to grow between 2.5% and 3.5% this year, compared to 1.6% last year.

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