Gen Prayut secured 256 votes of confidence against 206 votes of no confidence with nine abstentions, while Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon received the highest number of votes with 268 and Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit the lowest, earning 241 votes of support, reports the Bangkok Post.
“Yes, it’s a relief,” replied Prayut when asked by the press after the vote results were released yesterday morning.
However, when asked to confirm his previous remark ruling out the possibility of a cabinet reshuffle after the no-confidence debate, the PM declined to comment and simply walked away.
And even though all 11 cabinet ministers survived the no-confidence vote, the results show signs of rifts in the coalition, according to some observers.
Of the highest number of 212 votes of no-confidence received by Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, for instance, six were later found to have come from MPs of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party itself.
These six MPs voting against Gen Anupong belong to a clique in the party called Pak Nam Group.
Democrat Party spokesman Rames Ratanachaweng, meanwhile, said the party was disappointed and wondered out loud why three abstentions in the no-confidence vote on Mr Jurin, the party leader, happened to come from members of the Chartthaipattana Party, a key coalition partner.
Natural Resources and Environment Varawut Silpa-archa, also head of Chartthaipattna’s strategy and policy committee, said he had approached all three MPs, who replied they held opinions on certain issues differing from party leader Mr Jurin. That was why they chose not to cast votes of confidence to support him.
Every Chartthaipattana MP has the freedom to express themselves as they see fit in a vote of this nature, said Mr Varawut.
Democrat secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on and Chinnaworn Boonyakiat, a Democrat MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat, meanwhile, downplayed yesterday’s results which saw Mr Jurin come last, noting that all 11 cabinet ministers had passed the vote.
The House’s vote results, however, were in stark contrast with results of a parallel vote arranged by a group of academics from four universities and civic organisations founded in remembrance of the 1992 Black May uprising.
Of 524,806 members of the public who voted in the online poll, 97% cast a vote of no-confidence for Prayut.