Thailand: Yingluck Shinawatra survives no-confidence vote, protests continue

Thailand`s embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday easily survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote against her, the House Speaker said.

Updated: Nov 28, 2013, 09:52 AM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Bangkok: As attempts by Thailand`s opposition to bring down the government through worsening street protests continues, Education Minister Chaturon Chaiseng has told the BBC that there are no chances of coup as the Army is still not backing the protesters.

The Education Minister told the BBC that the government needed to "regain the trust and faith of people".

However, Chaiseng also said that if some people don’t believe in the incumbent government that doesn’t mean that the protesters can topple it.

Meanwhile, Thailand`s embattled Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday easily survived a parliamentary no-confidence vote against her, the House Speaker said.

"Prime Minister Yingluck won the vote of confidence," said Somsak Kiatsuranont, with 297 lawmakers voting in her favour and 134 against.

The vote follows mass street protests in Bangkok by opposition protesters seeking to topple Yingluck`s elected government.

Thai crowds numbering tens of thousands continued protesting for the fifth day in a bid to topple the Yingluck Shinawatra government.

The protesters are being spearheaded by former opposition Democrat Party lawmaker Suthep Thaugsuban, and they have resorted to a method of shutting down the government ministries in order to topple the present government which they claim is being run by the PM`s brother Thaksin Shinawatra.

At the centre of the protests is a controversial political amnesty bill that people say will enable the ousted ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra to come back to Thailand without serving a jail sentence for corruption.

Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted in a military coup in 2006 for alleged corruption.

The protests began on Sunday when more than 150,000 demonstrators took to streets in Bangkok, shouting slogans against the so-called "Thaksin regime".

The protesters then targeted the Finance, Foreign and the Interior Ministry in last two days.

Reacting to the rallies, the PM invoked a tough security law namely, Internal Security Act which allows the officials to block roads, impose curfews and ban the use of electronic devices.

However, the demonstrators have been defying the law and going on with their protests.

Speaking outside the Parliament, PM Yingluck Shinawatra urged the protesters to calm down offering a negotiation.

“We must not regard this as a win-or-lose situation...Today no one is winning or losing, only the country is hurting,” she told reporters.

UN concerned

UN leader Ban Ki-moon "is concerned by the rising political tensions in Bangkok," said his spokesman Martin Nesirky yesterday as protests spread beyond the Thai capital.

"The secretary-general calls on all sides to exercise the utmost restraint, refrain from the use of violence and to show full respect for the rule of law and human rights."

Ban welcomed government assurances "that it will continue to respect the rights of people to hold peaceful demonstrations," said the spokesman.

"The secretary-general is concerned about reports of government institutions being occupied by the protesters."

Opposition demonstrators are seeking to bring down Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra by paralyzing government ministries and staging the biggest street protests since mass rallies in 2010.

"The secretary-general strongly encourages all concerned to resolve their differences through genuine dialogue and peaceful means," said Nesirky.