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Cabinet Ministers Survive Final Round Of Censure Votes Ahead Of '23 Election


Thai Prime Minister Prayuth and ten senior ministers survived the no-confidence votes that concluded a four-day censure debate on Saturday. This was the final opportunity for opposition lawmakers to challenge Cabinet ministers in the legislature before the next general election expected in early 2023.

  • The censure motion was filed by opposition parties accusing the government of economic mismanagement. The Cabinet was widely expected to survive, even as voting intentions of some minor parties were unclear. This shifted emphasis to the course of the debate and voting results, as well as their ramifications for power dynamics within the ruling coalition.
  • Even as all officials targeted by the censure motion managed to keep their posts, the undewhelming results of two ministers have put them in the spotlight. Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, leader of the Democrat Party (DP), won the backing of just 241 of 471 MPs. Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) got the highest number of votes against as 212 lawmakers voted to oust him.
  • Senior DP and PPRP officials played down the significance of the results, but the Democrats' spokesman questioned the motives of three Chartthaipattana Party (CP) lawmakers who abstained when parliament was voting on whether to oust DP leader Jurin. Elsewhere, the Bangkok Post suggested that "the high number of no-confidence votes for Gen Anupong came amid speculation that several Palang Pracharath members want their leader, Gen Prawit, to take over as interior minister."
  • From a macro perspective, the result clears political uncertainty for the months to come. On Friday, when the censure debate was still ongoing, Prime Minister Prayuth said he was not planning to reshuffle his Cabinet. The government can also be confident of passing the THB3.18tn FY2023 budget bill. The political risk outlook for next year is more clouded, as PPRP consistently trails the main opposition Pheu Thai Party in opinion polls.

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