General Prem Tinsulanondo became Thailand's new Prime Minister on Monday (3 March).
GV EXTERIOR: Delegates arriving at Parliament building (2 shots)
GV & SV Fishermen demonstrating against price of oil (2 shots)
Man speaking through loudhailer at demonstrators and demonstrators holding placards listen (2 shots)
SV Police standing by police car
SV General Prem Tinsulanondo arriving at Kukrit House by car and entering house (2 shots)
SV INTERIOR General Prem seated as press take pictures (4 shots)
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Background: General Prem Tinsulanondo became Thailand's new Prime Minister on Monday (3 March). The appointment followed General Prem's election by an overwhelming majority at a special joint session of Parliament. Last Friday (29 February) Premier Kriangsak Chomanan resigned his office in the wake of widespread criticism of his government's economic policies.
SYNOPSIS: During a secret session of Parliament, General Prem won 3999 votes in favour of his appointment. His nearest rival, Opposition Leader Kukrit Pramoj, gained 80 votes. Shortly after the vote King Bhumibol was informed of Parliament's decision and approved the post.
Outside the Parliament building fishermen demonstrated against recent oil price rises. Five of Thailand's Opposition Parties united last month in criticism of General Kriangsak's announcement of significant increases in electricity and petrol prices. Politicians, labour unions and students staged anti-government protests. Premier Kriangsak said the energy price rise was unavoidable because of the higher cost of imported oil. However, on Friday (29 February) General Kriangsak resigned saying he had decided to quit to give others the chance of trying to run the country.
General Prem Tinsulanonda is the army Commander-in-Chief and was Defence Minister in General Kriangsak's last government. His popularity with public and military stems from the mid-1970's when he played a key role in containing Communist insurgency in north-eastern Thailand.
One of the General Prem's first acts as Premier was to call on Opposition Leader Kukrit Pramoj (on the left of the picture) whose Social Action Party could provide much-needed economic expertise for the new government. After their meeting Mr Kukrit said his party would not enter a coalition but it was possible that some members could join the new Cabinet. He said he had promised General Prem full co-operation in all fields.