Seven opposition MPs from the Pheu Thai Party and four from the Move Forward Party voted for the government's 2023 budget bill in its first reading on Thursday night.
The initial passage of the budget bill was considered as key condition for the government to remain in power.
The seven Pheu Thai MPs who voted for the bill included three representatives of the northeastern province of Si Sa Ket, namely Chaturong Pengnorapat, Theera Taisaranakul and Pongsri Saejueng, who were expected to jump ship to the coalition Bhumjaithai Party.
The four others were Chakrapat Chaiyasan, whose seat is in the Northeast’s Udon Thani province, Niyom Changpinit of the North’s Phitsanulok, Wuthichai Kittithanesuan of the central plains province Nakhon Nayok and Suchart Pinyo, whose electorate is in Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast.
The four from Move Forward were its longstanding dissidents: Khwanlert Panichamat representing the eastern province of Chon Buri, list MP Kharom Pholphonklang and Pheeradet Khamsamut and Ekaphop Phianwiset, MPs of northern Chiang Rai province.
Following suit was Anumat Susaror, an old dissident MP from Pattani province in the deep South for the opposition Prachachart Party.
The 2023 budget bill passed its first reading on Thursday night with 278 votes in favour and 194 against from opposition MPs. Officially the opposition had 208 MPs, while the government commanded 230-240 votes in the past.
All MPs of coalition parties voted for the bill and they included those in the faction of Thamanat Prompow of the Settakij Thai Party, whose support for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had been in doubt.
There were two abstentions - House Speaker Chuan Leekpai and Move Forward list MP Kasemsan Meethip. Two Pheu Thai MPs were absent from the vote - Kalasin MP Khomdet Chaiyasiwamongkol and Chaiyaphum MP Surawit Khonsomboon from the Northeast.