Opposition Walks Out; Prayut Survives No-Confidence Vote

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said Pheu Thai walked out in protest on Thursday night. In fact, it was the Future Forward Party. We regret the error.

BANGKOK — PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and five of his ministers on Friday morning survived a vote of no-confidence by an overwhelming margin, ending days of fierce debates.

Prayut received a vote of no-confidence from only 49 MPs, while 272 MPs say they have trust in his leadership, effectively securing him the Prime Minister’s seat for the foreseeable future.

Other ministers won similar vote counts, except for Thammanat Prompao who came under widespread scrutiny for his drug conviction in Australia. He received a vote of support from 269 MPs.

Although the result was widely expected among the anti-regime faction, opponents of the government were angered at the news that at least 11 opposition MPs voted in favor of Prayut’s Cabinet, reigniting the suspicions of “cobras,” or defectors, within the opposition bench.

The main opposition party, Pheu Thai, also caused an uproar among government critics by spending the time slot given to the Future Forward Party in the no-confidence debate on Thursday.

Pheu Thai’s use of the time slot eventually upset Future Forward’s plan to deliver its long awaited assault on Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, who’s been implicated in a series of scandals since he first came to power in the May 2014 coup. The House Speaker also denied a request to extend the debate time.

The Future Forward MPs then walked out in protest at what they perceived to be a betrayal by Pheu Thai Party, an allegation it vehemently denied.

Most of the Future Forward MPs returned to the Parliament on Friday, just in time for voting, but Pheu Thai and other opposition parties were not in attendance when the votes were called.

Pheu Thai leaders said they did not attend today’s voting to protest the House Speaker’s refusal to grant the oppositon extra time in yesterday’s debate.

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