Massive poll finds over 93% want PM Prayut to leave office now

PHOTO: Should PM Prayut Chan-o-cha remain in office?

With just one day before PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s premiership expires, the Constitutional Court still has not ruled if he can continue as Thailand’s leader or not, but the court of public opinion has spoken. A new phone survey from a group of universities, TV stations, and online media found that a whopping 93.17% of people do not want PM Prayut to remain in office after his eight-year term ends tomorrow.

While polls in Thailand are often eviscerated in the comment section for their small sample size, a coalition of eight digital television stations, online media sources, and lecturers from eight different universities garnered a total of 374,063 responses, though 1,438 votes were deemed invalid, and eliminated.

The poll was conducted over the phone just days ago on August 20 and 21 to get a quick snapshot of public opinion about whether PM Prayut should stay in office. It included responses from 4,579 Thai nationals living abroad. Some 348,511 people voted that they did not want the prime minister to remain in office now that his eight years are up. Just 25,552 people, less than 7% of those surveyed, believed he should be allowed to continue as PM.

Should PM Prayut Chan-o-cha remain in office?
Should PM Prayut Chan-o-cha remain in office?

Prayut, who takes little heed of poll data, has spent eight years in the PM office, and the current constitution allows a maximum of eight years for any prime minister. But the current constitution was only adopted four years ago. It’s this discrepancy that forms the basis of the hotly debated legal question: Does PM Prayut’s constitutionally mandated eight-year limit start from the date he took office or from the date the constitution was ratified?

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The Election Commission was discussing the legality of his terms yesterday, and the Constitutional Court is due to make a ruling imminently. Opposition parties, as well as legal scholars, academics, and activist groups, have been ramping up the pressure in their calls for him to step down as the term ending date looms closer and closer.

Meanwhile, the group that conducted the survey points out that the poll is not necessarily indicative of the entire national voting sentiment, is not legally binding, and has no effect on whether PM Prayut will remain in office or not.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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