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New Thai PM Pledges to Fix Economy, End Political Turmoil


Thailand's new prime minister has pledged to fix the country's economy and end its political turmoil.

Abhisit Vejjajiva told reporters Wednesday in Bangkok that he will appoint "competent people" to put Thailand's economy back on track.

Mr. Abhisit also says that one of his first jobs as prime minister will be promoting political reconciliation and fixing the country's political system.

The prime minister's comments came after Thailand's constitutional monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej endorsed his appointment to the post after months of protests.

Mr. Abhisit is Thailand's third prime minister this year, and the first not aligned with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted from office in 2006 by a bloodless military coup.

Mr. Abhisit was elected Monday in a special parliamentary vote. The 44-year-old Democrat Party leader defeated former police chief Pracha Promnog, who was supported by members of the former ruling party and its allies.

He replaces Somchai Wongsawat, who resigned as prime minister this month after a court found his party and its coalition partners guilty of election fraud.

Mr. Somchai's ouster ended six months of protests by anti-government demonstrators, who claimed the government was a proxy for Mr. Thaksin. The protests included an occupation of the main government compound, and a recent eight-day siege of Bangkok's two main airports.

The unrest virtually paralyzed the government and damaged Thailand's crucial tourism sector.

A court removed another Thaksin ally, Samak Sundaravej, from the premiership earlier this year because the politician was paid to host TV cooking shows while in office.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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