Thaksin Relative Elected Thai Prime Minister

Protesters vow to reject brother-in-law of exiled leader
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2008 6:51 AM CDT
Thailand's Prime Minister-elect Somchai Wongsawat, center, is surrounded by aides after his meeting with cheering supporters outside Parliament in Bangkok today.   (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
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(Newser) – The No. 2 figure in Thailand's ruling party and the brother-in-law of exiled leader Thaksin Shinawatra was easily elected prime minister today. Somchai Wongsawat will take office after he receives the endorsement of the king. But the People's Alliance for Democracy, whose protest outside the prime minister's office continues, have said they will not accept Somchai or any party member as leader, reports the Bangkok Post.

Somchai has secured assurances from the Thai army that they will not lead a coup, as they did in 2006. His victory was assured after he won over a rebel faction in his party, who had been concerned that his family ties to Thaksin would only deepen Thailand's political crisis. "I cannot deny my family ties, but what matters is how I behave," Somchai said.