Thai PM Prayuth wins confidence vote amid criticism on virus

Sep 3, 2021, 8:39 PM | Updated: Sep 5, 2021, 12:33 am
Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o...

Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)

(Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)

BANGKOK (AP) — Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha won votes of confidence in Parliament on Saturday, helping to steady his government after it had come under intense criticism for bungling its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prayuth still faces pressure from street protests that have been demanding he step down. Pro-democracy activists opposing his policies have been seeking his resignation since last year and stepped up their efforts in recent weeks.

Major, though not huge, rallies were held this past week in defiance of limits on public gatherings as a virus-fighting measure, and another was scheduled for later Saturday, with organizers vowing to continue until he gets out of office.

Arriving at Parliament ahead of the voting on the censure motions against him and five members of his Cabinet, Prayuth had declared to reporters: “I am confident every day.” Asked if there will be a Cabinet reshuffle soon, he said, “It’s not time yet.”

Prayuth prevailed by a comfortable margin in the House of Representatives, with support from 264 lawmakers showing only a few defections from the 271 members of his ruling coalition, despite intense rumors of a plot among them to force him out.

There were 208 votes in support of the motion, 34 short of the 242 simple majority of the 482 total members the Opposition needed to succeed.

During four previous days of debate, little attention had been given to the details of the Opposition’s harsh accusations that Prayuth’s administration had botched the coronavirus response, countenanced corruption and mismanaged the economy.

Thai media were instead abuzz with rumors that the secretary-general of the ruling, military-backed Palang Pracharath party, which put together the coalition government that named Prayuth prime minister two years ago, was leading the effort to unseat him and pull the main opposition Pheu Thai party into the coalition.

There was no public confirmation of the rumors, which by Thursday included an accusation that Prayuth’s side met lawmakers to pay them large sums to ensure their support — an accusation he flatly denied. “Everyone came to greet me. As I hardly met them, they just came to give me the support. I would not do such a nonsense thing (paying money),” he said.

Prayuth and his government survived two other no-confidence debates since the 2019 general election. But he was seen as vulnerable now due to his government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, particularly its failure to secure timely and adequate supplies of COVID-19 vaccines.

He faced no such challenges when he was junta chief and prime minister with unrestrained powers in a military regime installed after he staged a coup as army commander in 2014, toppling an elected government.

The other Cabinet members targeted with no-confidence motions also easily survived Saturday’s votes. They were Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob from the Bhumjai Thai Party, Labor Minister Suchat Chomklin and Digital Economy Minister Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn from Palang Pracharath, and Agriculture Minister Chalermchai Sri-on from the Democrat Party.

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              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, left, and Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrive at Parliament during a confidence vote on Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha talks to reporters at parliament after a confidence vote on himself and five members of his Cabinet in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Prayuth won the vote after a frenzy of speculation over the makeup of the ruling coalition. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)
            
              Anti-government protesters participate in a rally Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. Protesters demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha for his failure in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Anti-government protesters participate in a rally Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. Protesters demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha for his failure in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Anti-government protesters display the three-finger symbol of resistance participate in a rally Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. Protesters demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha for his failure in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              Anti-government protesters display the three-finger symbol of resistance participate in a rally Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021. Protesters demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha for his failure in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
            
              FILE – In this Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, file photo released by Public Relations Dpt. Lower House, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives at the parliament in Bangkok, Thailand. Thai lawmakers are due to vote Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021 on no-confidence motions filed against Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet, after four days of opposition criticism were overshadowed by heady speculation that his own allies might try to unseat him.(Public Relations Dpt. Lower House via AP, File)
            
              Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha arrives at parliament in Bangkok, Thailand, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Thai lawmakers are due to vote Saturday on no-confidence motions filed against Prayuth and five members of his Cabinet, after four days of opposition criticism were overshadowed by heady speculation that his own allies might try to unseat him. (AP Photo/Sompong Sonnak)

AP

In this image taken from footage by Saudi State TV, Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, listens to ...
Associated Press

China’s Xi at Saudi palace to meet royals on Mideast trip

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Chinese leader Xi Jinping met on Thursday with Saudi Arabia’s king and the crown prince while on a visit to the kingdom, solidifying ties with a region crucial to his country’s energy supplies as sanctions intensify on Russia over its war on Ukraine. Xi arrived at Al Yamama Palace […]
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Associated Press

WHO: COVID disruption resulted in 63,000 more malaria deaths

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Associated Press

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FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Faith in the U.S. dollar has often hinged in part on what Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen says. On Thursday, the focus will be on what she writes, as the government churns out its first currency bearing her signature. Yellen loops her capital “J” and “Y,” with the rest of her […]
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Associated Press

Biden releasing nearly $36B to aid pensions of union workers

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Associated Press

Ex-Wirecard boss on trial in fraud case that shamed Germany

BERLIN (AP) — The former chief executive of financial services company Wirecard and two other ex-managers went on trial Thursday over the firm’s collapse in what has been described as the biggest case of fraud in post-war Germany. Wirecard was long the darling of Germany’s fintech scene until it filed insolvency proceedings in 2020, saying […]
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A man wearing a mask sits on his luggage near a mural depicting health checks before entry to a res...
Associated Press

China begins implementing relaxed anti-COVID-19 measures

BEIJING (AP) — China began implementing a more relaxed version of its strict “zero COVID” policy on Thursday amid steps to restore normal life, but also trepidation over a possible broader outbreak once controls are eased. The country reported 21,165 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, though it was unclear whether the lower number reflected fewer […]
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Thai PM Prayuth wins confidence vote amid criticism on virus