Thai Opposition Leader Takes Office as PM

Abhisit confirmed, but special elections may threaten his majority
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2008 6:27 AM CST
Protesters attack a car coming out of parliament with rocks after the voting for the country's new prime minister, Abhisit Vejjajiva, in Bangkok, Thailand Monday, Dec. 15, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Abhisit Vejjajiva, the opposition leader of Thailand who lost an election only a year ago, has been confirmed as the country's new prime minister, reports the BBC. The British-born 44-year-old takes power after days of horse-trading among Thailand's political parties, with supporters of the exiled Thaksin Shinawatra allegedly offered cabinet posts and cash for their votes. Abhisit becomes the first PM from Thailand's Democratic Party in 8 years.

Outside of parliament pro-Thaksin protesters denounced Abhisit as the "army nominee" and accused the Democrats of a "silent coup." His acclamation in parliament comes after a court dissolved 3 political parties and banned the previous PM from politics. But Thailand's political crisis may not be over; a series of special elections to fill now vacant seats may favor Thaksin supporters and deprive Abhisit of his majority.