Thai parliament votes military coup leader as new prime minister | News | DW | 21.08.2014
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Thai parliament votes military coup leader as new prime minister

The Thai military general who led a bloodless coup in May has been voted the country’s new prime minister. Thai General Prayuth Chan-ocha’s nomination now awaits approval by the Thai king.

Thailand's parliament voted unanimously on Thursday for General Prayuth Chan-ocha to head the government, thus sealing the military's grip on power.

According to early media reports, 191 members voted yes, with three abstentions and three members absent. No one opposed his nomination.

Thailand has faced nearly a year of unrest over its leadership. Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra faced mass protests for months late last year over a corruption scandal. She was long considered a puppet of her brother, former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006.

Yingluck's attempts to end the street violence and political conflict failed repeatedly and she ultimately lost power in May when the country's highest court found her guilty of abuse of power.

The military staged a coup several weeks later, claiming to be upholding peace and order. However, the military junta has not relinquished power to civilians, instead placing many of its officers in government roles.

General Prayuth, who is due to retire from the military next month, has ruled out the possibility of full free elections in October. His rise to the premiership is, therefore, seen as a strategy to stay at the helm of the military.

kms/jr (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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