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Thai parliament elects Srettha Thavisin as PM: AFP count

Thai parliament elects Srettha Thavisin as PM: AFP count
Source: Video Screenshot

Thai lawmakers approved tycoon Srettha Thavisin as the kingdom’s new prime minister on Tuesday, ending three months of political deadlock on the day former premier Thaksin Shinawatra returned from exile.

Srettha easily secured a majority across the two houses of parliament to be approved as Thailand’s 30th prime minister, despite his Pheu Thai party coming second in the May election.

He sailed past the 374 votes needed for a majority of elected lower house MPs and senators appointed by the last junta, according to an AFP count of votes broadcast live on Parliament TV.

Pheu Thai’s coalition of around a dozen parties commands 314 of the lower house’s 500 seats.

But it has stirred controversy by welcoming former foes into the partnership, including the pro-military parties of former coup makers that ousted Pheu Thai’s last prime minister.

The vote came hours after Pheu Thai founder and figurehead Thaksin returned to Thailand for the first time since 2008 and was immediately jailed.

Pheu Thai stepped in to form a government after the reformist Move Forward Party (MFP) — which won the most seats — saw its leader denied the prime minister spot by conservative, pro-military forces.

Srettha, the former head of Thai property giant Sansiri, on Friday vowed to tackle poverty and inequality — and rejected corruption allegations made by an anti-graft whistleblower.

A wave of urban and youth discontent with nearly a decade of military-backed rule carried MFP to a surprise first-place finish in May’s election.

But the party’s pledges to reform royal insult laws and tackle powerful business monopolies saw it run into bitter opposition from the kingdom’s powerful elites.

MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat failed to win enough support from pro-military and royalist senators in a prime minister vote last month and was later suspended from parliament by the Constitutional Court.



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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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