Thaksin ally chosen as Thai PM
Bangkok (ANTARA News) - Samak Sundaravej, an ally of deposed Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra, was Monday elected prime minister after winning a majority of votes in parliament, according to an AFP tally of televised proceedings.
Samak, a right-winger and staunch royalist, won more than the 241 votes needed to become premier, defeating opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva of the Democrat Party, the AFP tally showed.
Samak's People Power Party (PPP) leads a six-party coalition that controls two thirds of the seats in parliament, after winning the first elections since the September 2006 military-backed coup that ousted Thaksin.
The charismatic but deeply divisive Samak, 72, will become Thailand's 25th prime minister only once King Bhumibol Adulyadej endorses him -- a formality that could take a few days.
The victory of Samak and the PPP marked a sharp blow to the military, which spared no effort in trying to crush Thaksin's political machine.
Junta-appointed authorities banned Thaksin from politics, disbanded his political party and froze about two billion dollars worth of his assets.
But Thaksin tapped Samak to rally his supporters under the PPP, which stomped to a victory in the elections last month.
The junta last week announced that it was dissolving itself to clear the way for the new civilian government. (*) END
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