Thai opposition leader becomes prime minister

Parliament chose opposition party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva as Thailand's prime minister Monday following months of political chaos, as supporters of the former government tried to blockade lawmakers in the building. The articulate, Oxford-educated politician, who heads the Democrat Party, gathered 235 votes against 198 by former national police chief Pracha Promnok, a loyalist of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The lower house vote followed six months of instability caused by anti-government and anti-Thaksin demonstrations that culminated last month with a weeklong takeover of Bangkok's two airports, and the selection of new prime minister had been expected to calm the country's politics, at least temporarily. However, several hundred Thaksin supporters tried to block the gates of Parliament in a last-ditch attempt to halt the result.