Democrat Abhisit Vejjajiva elected Thailand’s new PM

December 15th, 2008 - 12:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Abhisit VejjajivaBangkok, Dec 15 (Xinhua) Thailand’s parliament Monday elected Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as the country’s new prime minister ending a protracted political turmoil that saw his predecessor and close ally of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Somchai Wongsowat, resign. Official results showed Abhisit gained 235 votes from the total 437 incumbent members of parliament in the House of Representatives, against the 198 votes for his rival — Puea Thai Party leader Pracha Promnok, during the special parliamentary session that kicked off 9.30 a.m. (0230 GMT) Monday.

A total of 436 members cast their votes with three, including Abhisit, abstaining.

A simple majority, which means at least 219, out of the 437 House seats, is required for any candidate to be elected as prime minister, according to the Thai constitution.

Abhisit will officially become the country’s 27th prime minister after his election is endorsed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Dozens of “red-shirt” people, who are supporters of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the pro-Thaksin Puea Thai Party, gathered outside the parliament compound.

Learning the results, the angry demonstrators were seen attacking the compound gate with iron police barriers.

Thailand had been in political turmoil after opposition People’s Alliance for Democracy staged massive protests demanding the resignation of then prime minister Somchai Wongsowat, a close relative and ally of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Wongsowat resigned after his membership of parliament was declared illegal by the constitutional court on grounds of electoral fraud.

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