The vote is the second test of confidence the Prayuth government has faced since taking office in July 2019.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and nine ministers survived a motion of censure in parliament after a four-day critical debate with protests calling for his resignation to be resumed.

“The vote shows there is trust,” said Chuan Leekpai, president of the National Assembly, on Saturday, announcing the result, on charges that the government mismanaged the economy botched the supply of COVID-19 vaccines Abused human rights and promoted corruption.

The vote was the second test of suspicion the Prayuth government has faced since taking office in July 2019 following a controversial election after Prayuth took power as army chief in a 2014 coup.

Last February, Prayuth and five ministers easily defeated a vote of no confidence in the House of Commons.

The latest motion also criticized his government for abusing its powers to promote police officers, including setting up a cyber unit to attack government critics on social media.

A more serious claim, however, has been that Prayuth has deepened the divisions in society by using the monarchy as a shield against criticism of his government.

A student-led protest movement has been campaigning for Prayuth and his government to resign since last year. They want the constitution to be changed to make it more democratic and for the monarchy to be reformed to make it more accountable.

“Prayuth’s biggest mistake is that he doesn’t understand the principles of the constitutional monarchy,” said Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the opposition Move Forward Party.

“He used the monarchy to protect himself when he was criticized or rejected. This is an evil act that no longer qualifies him as prime minister, ”he said.

His allegation relates to the enforcement of Article 112 of the Criminal Code, also known as the Law of Majesty. Prayuth said last June that King Maha Vajiralongkorn had expressed his wish that the government not use the law against defamation of the monarchy to persecute pro-democracy protesters.

Monarchy inviolable

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, a popular politician who was evicted from parliament last year, was charged last month on a majesty charge that the government’s procurement of COVID-19 vaccines was late and inadequate, and that the lead contract might be cheap.

The criticism is related to the monarchy as most of the vaccines ordered by Thailand are said to be manufactured by Siam Bioscience, a private Thai company owned by the king.

The monarchy is generally considered to be the inviolable foundation of Thai nationalism.

Majesty’s Law allows anyone to file a complaint with the police, with convictions that include prison terms of up to 15 years per offense. According to the Thai human rights lawyers, at least 59 people, including several minors, were summoned under the law between November and February.

Four prominent protesters, including human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa, student leader Parit Chiwarak, and political activists Somyos Prueksakasemsuk and Patiwat Saraiyaem, were prosecuted under the law and for sedition earlier this month. Her lawyer requested bail, but the court refused.

Prayuth said the debate in parliament was “a good opportunity for both sides to do something together for our country and our people. And I am ready to clear up any claim. “

Of the 487 MPs, 277 are part of the government coalition and 210 are in the opposition. The motion of censure would require a simple majority or 244 votes to pass. Prayuth received 272 votes, 206 did not vote and three were silent.

On Friday evening, hundreds of protesters held a bogus censorship motion against Prayuth and the other ministers on the street in front of the parliament building, where they pointed out their alleged corruption and stated that they had not addressed the growing financial inequality in Thailand.

Protesters said another rally is planned for Saturday afternoon.

Police said they would deploy more than 10,000 officers in Bangkok over the weekend to control the crowd and maintain law and order. Police vehicles, including water cannons, were dropped off near Parliament.


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