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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs