BANGKOK, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Somchai Wongsawat, brother-in-law of ousted Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Wednesday was chosen prime minister by Parliament.
The 61-year-old former judge, who had been acting prime minister of the People Power Party-led coalition, easily defeated opposition party candidate Ahhisit Vejjajiva, the Thai News Agency reported.
Somchai replaces Samak Sundaravej, who was ordered by a court to step down last week for hosting television cooking shows while in office.
Somchai thanked members of the lower house for electing him prime minister and promised to "perform the duty to his best," the news agency reported.
The country has been embroiled in political unrest because of growing opposition to the coalition government, which opponents see only as a proxy for Thaksin, who was ousted in a coup in 2006.
Thaksin, a billionaire who lives in exile in England, and his family face numerous corruption charges at home, all of which the family has denied. Thailand's supreme court has two arrest warrants pending against Thaksin.
Somchai elevation to prime minister comes amid warnings by the opposition led by People's Alliance for Democracy that they will not accept him because of his ties to Thaksin, the report said.