News / Asia

Thai Government Wins No-Confidence Vote

Ron Corben

Thailand's coalition government has survived a no-confidence vote, after debate that focused on the recent anti-government clashes that left more than 80 people dead.  Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva won the support of 246 members of the 480-seat House, but the debate left divisions within Thailand's government.

The debate during the past two days was often acrimonious, as the government and the opposition focused on the bloodshed that occurred last month as the military ended two months of anti-government protests.

The demonstration, and the operation to clear out the so-called Red-Shirt protesters camp in central Bankgok, left 88 people dead and almost 2,000 injured.  The opposition Puea Thai Party accused the government of using excessive force.  They also accused Mr. Abhisit and some Cabinet members of corruption and of insulting Thailand's revered monarchy.

Puea Thai leader Chalerm Yoobamrung accused Mr. Abhisit of acting like a dictator, comparing him with past Thai strongmen as well as German dictator Adolf Hitler.  

Chalerm says the crackdown resulted in more deaths than in 1992, when a government led by General Suchinda Krayprayoon suppressed pro-democracy demonstrations.

But a spokesman for the governing Democrat Party, Barunaj Smutharak, says the debate highlighted democracy after the tensions raised by the protests.

"I think it sends a signal that parliament(ary) democracy is back in this country," Barunaj said. "The government has also had this opportunity to directly communicate with the public the events that transpired in Thailand ... and appropriate measures that the country has undertaken in order to restore peace in the country."

The government denies using excessive force and blames the protesters for instigating the bloodshed.  As troops broke up the protest camp, some demonstrators set more than 30 buildings on fire throughout the city.

During the debate, Mr. Abhisit promised an independent investigation of the violence, and stressed his plans to heal the divisions in Thai society.

Five Cabinet members who also faced impeachment votes won by smaller margins, in part because of rifts among smaller parties in the ruling coalition.

Observers expect Mr. Abhisit to make changes to his Cabinet as a result.

Kraisak Choonhavan, another member of the Democrat Party, says the government was hurt by the debate and needs to press ahead with reforms to achieve national reconciliation.

"Well, seriously we have not come out of the - I would say hell hole yet," Kraisak said. "I think there will be demands from the Democrat Party to make more significant reforms.  Surely after every debate there is a certain harm that has been done."

The protesters, who mostly are from poor rural areas and the urban working class, demanded immediate elections.  They consider Mr. Abhisit's government to be illegitimate, and say it is backed by the military and a Bangkok elite that ignores their concerns. Their leaders rejected an offer for November elections.

The red shirts and the Puea Thai Party are aligned with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.  He was ousted in a coup four years ago and now lives overseas to avoid a prison sentence for corruption. The government has charged him with terrorism and say he supported violent elements among the protesters, charges Mr. Thaksin denies.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid