Thu, 10 Mar 2005

From: AFP

Thaksin formally re-elected as Thai PM

THAILAND: Thaksin Shinawatra was formally re-elected on Wednesday as prime minister of Thailand, making him the kingdom's first democratically elected premier to hold a second term.

Thaksin, 55, was the only candidate for the post. He was endorsed by 377 lawmakers in the 500-seat lower house or House of Representatives, newly installed Speaker Bhokin Bhalakula told the parliamentary session.

"The prime minister has gained more than a simple majority of the vote, thus he is voted to be prime minister. I would like to congratulate him on this occasion," Bhokin told the House after the session, which was broadcast nationally on Thai television.

With 494 MPs in attendance for the vote, 116 abstained while only one -- massage parlor king-turned-parliamentarian Chuwit Kamolvisit of the Chart Thai Party, a former coalition partner -- opposed Thaksin's nomination.

The speaker said he was to have a royal audience later on Wednesday with King Bhumibol Adulyadej, to whom he will submit Thaksin's name for royal approval.

Thaksin is then expected to receive the royal command at Government House on Wednesday night, from where he will make a televised address to the nation. -- AFP