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Thai PM, ministers survive no confidence vote

world Updated: Mar 21, 2009 11:16 IST

AFP
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Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and five ministers on Saturday easily survived a vote of no confidence called by the opposition following a two-day debate on allegations of corruption.

The censure motion against the premier failed with 246 MPs voting for him and 176 against.

"Therefore the prime minister remains in his position," said House Speaker Chai Chidchob.

The censure motion accused Abhisit of certifying false party financial statements, and alleged that his Democrat Party had received millions of dollars in illegal donations and illegally distributed funds from the electoral commission.

Abhisit said he was pleased with the outcome and immediately dismissed suggestions he would reshuffle the cabinet.

"Nothing needs to change. I will carry on working as I gained the vote of confidence from parliament," he said.

Abhisit had been named in the motion alongside Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, his deputy Pradit Patharaprasit, Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul and his deputy Boonchong Wongtrairat.

Of the six men, Kasit had been in most danger of being forced out because of his support for protesters who forced the closure of Bangkok's airports last year.

But he won the popular vote on Saturday by a slightly smaller margin than the other four ministers -- 237 voted for him with 184 votes against.

"It's not a problem... every minister gained more than a 234-vote simple majority," Abhisit told a reporter who questioned Kasit's future.

The two-day censure debate had been led by allies of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and was always likely to fail.

The Democrats have 170 seats out of 465 in parliament, but can count on the support of around 70 coalition partners. The main opposition Puea Thai (For Thais) party has 182 seats.