ANALYSTS predicted yesterday's vote over the future of Prime Minister Banharn Silpa-archa would not be a battle between the opposition and the Government. Rather, they said, it would be a battle of wits between Mr Banharn and his deputy General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, leader of the second biggest party in the coalition, the New Aspiration Party. They were right. 'The New Aspiration Party will vote for the Prime Minister, but only if he expresses his intention to resign within three days after the vote,' party member Chaturon Chaisang said before the vote. Mr Banharn clung grimly to his leadership for months before the debate, threatening even yesterday morning to use his trump card in a worst-case scenario _ dissolving the House. Yesterday's vote was an hour late, prompting rumours that Mr Banharn had requested an audience with King Bhumibhol Adulyadej seeking a dissolution. But instead, he held a press conference to say he would resign within seven days. Essentially in Thai terms, he has saved some face. He will go down in history as having won the censure debate. His party, including his daughter Kanchana, who was implicated in a land scandal, and brother Chumphol, who was a key player in re-drawing the country's constitution, would will stay in power. General Chavalit played a patient waiting game, repeatedly saying he would do what was best for the country when it was time to vote. Now, it seems he has played his cards to perfection. He is likely to be handed the leadership on a platter, and given the fact that the coalition was united in voting for Mr Banharn, will have the support of existing coalition parties. Had the House dissolved, his aim to lead the country would not have come so easily. There would have been an election and he would have had to gain at least 30 more seats to ensure a place at the top. Mr Banharn could have remained stubborn. He still can. Had he dissolved the House, he would have remained premier for three more months, allowing him to fulfil a dream of leading the country during visits from the Queen and US President Bill Clinton. It has been a tough 14 months for Mr Banharn - his time has been riddled with controversy and allegations, most of which were raised in the debate. Corruption allegations amounted to many millions of US dollars amid a savagely dipping stock market and wavering economy, led by lower exports. His own party and coalition members had asked him to resign, as had his family. But he resisted it all. It was only a matter of time - and General Chavalit's patience - before it came to an end. As some analysts have said, both the country and Mr Banharn will soon be put out of their misery.