Bangkok, Sept 17 : In what is being described as a blow to former Thailand premier Thaksin Shinawatra's antagonists, his brother-in-la Somchai Wongsawat has been successfully elected as the country's new Prime Minister.
He won a firm majority of votes in the lower house of Parliament, backed by the governing six-party coalition. Members of parliament voted 298-163, with five abstentions, in his favour.
Somchai's election drew immediate objection from anti-government protesters who have occupied the prime minister's compound for more than three weeks, reported the Daily Express.
Somchai, a 61-year-old bureaucrat who is married to Thaksin's sister, appealed for national unity in a news conference shortly after the vote. He declined to answer a question about his infamous relative, the former Manchester City football club owner who was deposed in a 2006 coup and is now in exile in London.
"It is now time for Thailand to unite, to reconcile and to solve the conflict.........it is not unusual to be angry but we have to work together to make Thailand peaceful again," the paper quoted Somchai as saying.
The arrival of a new prime minister marked a small step forward in Thailand's tumultuous political crisis, but not one likely to defuse it, said the paper.