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Thai MPs elect new prime minister
Bangkok, Sept 17 (Agencies):
Published on 18 Sep. 2008 12:22 AM IST
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The brother-in-law of ousted Thai leader Thaksin Shinawatra has won a parliamentary vote to become the country's new prime minister. Somchai Wongsawat, whose candidacy was supported by the governing People Power Party, won a simple majority of votes in Bangkok's lower house of parliament. Mr Somchai became acting PM last week after a court forced his predessesor, Samak Sundaravej, to step down. Protesters in Bangkok claim the present government is a proxy for Mr Thaksin. Clashes between government supporters and opponents have left one person dead, and anti-government protesters have vowed to continue their three-week-old occupation of the main government complex until the PPP is forced out of power. Mr Somchai, 61, won the simple majority vote after five days of negotiations. His government is expected to face continued opposition because Mr Somchai is married to Mr Thaksin's sister, says the BBC's Jonathan Head in Bangkok. Every decision the new prime minister makes will be scrutinised for signs of his brother-in-law's hand in it, our correspondent adds. Mr Thaksin fled to Britain in July to avoid corruption charges, which he says are politically motivated. With the formality of a parliamentary vote behind him, the immediate task now confronting the Mr Somchai is to get the government functioning again, our correspondent says. Protesters have been occupying key government buildings in Bangkok, demanding the resignation of the government.

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