Embattled Thai PM survives no-confidence vote
Updated: 2013-11-28 13:26
Thailand's Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra arrives at parliament for a no-confidence vote in Bangkok November 28, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
The protests are all-too familiar in Thailand, which has seen eight years of on-off turmoil, from crippling street rallies to controversial judicial rulings and army intervention, each time with Thaksin at the centre of the tumult.
Despite fleeing into exile to dodge a jail sentence for abuse of power in 2008, billionaire former telecommunications mogul Thaksin has loomed large over Thai politics.
He won the support of the rural poor who voted him twice into office, in 2001 and 2005, before he was ousted in a 2006 coup. His supporters remain fiercely loyal to him and swept Yingluck to power in an election landslide in 2011.
Thaksin's opponents are fewer in number than his supporters but hold considerable power and influence, among them wealthy conservatives, top generals, bureaucrats, royalists and many members of the urban middle class.
Many of them see Thaksin as a corrupt, crony capitalist who manipulates the masses with populist handouts and is a threat to the monarchy, which he denies.
The anti-government campaign started last month after Yingluck's ruling Puea Thai Party tried to pass an amnesty bill that critics said was designed to absolve Thaksin of his 2008 graft conviction.
The protests, though peaceful, have raised fears of unrest. Anti-government protest leaders, from all sides, have a tradition in Thailand of trying to provoke a violent crackdown by the government to rob it of legitimacy.
Fearing clashes could erupt and further weaken her government, Yingluck said police would keep the peace.