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Thai prime minister survives no-confidence vote

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has survived a no-confidence vote in parliament by a wide margin following a heated debate on the government’s rice subsidy program and flood management budget.

Shinawatra comfortably survived the three-day debate in the lower house of parliament on Thursday, with 297 lawmakers voting in her favor and 134 against, amid ongoing protests against her administration.

The party headed by Shinawatra, the Puea Thai Party, and coalition partners dominate the house with 299 seats.

Leader of the opposition Democrat Party Abhisit Vejjajiva led the no-confidence motion against Shinawatra with attacks on her government’s rice-subsidy program, which pays farmers fixed prices for their crops far above market rates.

He also claimed that the embattled premier has allowed corruption to double under her administration since coming to power in July 2011.

The vote came as anti-government protesters continue to occupy ministries in the capital, Bangkok. Over two dozen provincial government centers have been occupied by protesters.

Hundreds of Thai troops have been deployed outside the parliament to maintain security.

Police have issued an arrest warrant for opposition leader Suthep Thaugsuban.

On Wednesday, Suthep rejected talks with the government or other parties.

“No more negotiations,” Suthep told thousands of protesters outside four government ministries.

He added that he is ready to die for his country if the protests do not succeed.

The demonstrators are demanding the resignation of Shinawatra and accuse her administration of being controlled by her brother, ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Protests began in Thailand last month over a government-backed bill that granted amnesty to Thaksin. The government was then forced to abandon the amnesty effort.

Thaksin was toppled in a military coup seven years ago, following allegations of corruption. Since then, Thaksin has lived in a self-imposed exile to avoid a prison sentence.


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