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NIDA poll puts Thailand’s opposition parties way ahead of the government



Thais have placed a candidate for the next Thai PM at the top of a recent poll. And that person hasn’t even declared they will run for the top job at this stage. Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the youngest daughter of former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, has scored the top position in the latest popularity poll conducted by the NIDA poll.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra hasn’t even declared her hand to run as a prime ministerial candidate in the next election which is tipped to be called either later this year or certainly before March 2023. Whilst leading various committees in the Pheu Thai sphere, Paetongtarn has avoided the BIG question about her intention to run as the PM candidate on behalf of the party. Both her father (Thaksin) and her aunt (Yingluck) have served as prime ministers in Thailand. And in both cases, they’ve been disposed of by military coups.

The NIDA survey, the second about prime ministerial candidates this year, was conducted last week among 2,500 people of various ages, occupations and education levels.

The first question was “who do you favour for Thailand’s next prime minister”?

25.3% of the respondents favoured the Pheu Thai leader of ‘Inclusion and Innovation Adviser Committees’, Paetongtarn Shinawatra. They noted they admired Pheu Thai’s policies because she is from the Shinawatra family. Pheu Thai is the party representing a large body of Thaksin’s supporters, is based mostly in north and north eastern Thailand and is also known as Red Shirts.

Coming in second was NO ONE. 18.7%, noted that none of the names presented was suitable for the position of Thai prime minister.

13.2% favoured Pita Limjaroenrat, the current leader of the opposition Move Forward Party. The party is the latest reincarnation of the Future Forward Party which ran in third place during the 2019 general election only to run into challenges from the Palang Pracharat party and the constitutional court.

11.7% put their hand up for the incumbent PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. They said he was “an honest and straightforward person whose policies have proven effective”. They believed he had restored peace and order in the country.

6.8% Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, former leader of Pheu Thai and now the leader of the Thai Sang Thai Party. People said she had the necessary experience to run the country and liked that she was a woman.

6.6% voted for Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, leader of the Seri Ruam Thai Party and known as a ‘fixer’ in conservative Thai political circles and served as the Commissioner of the Royal Thai Police between February 2007 – April 2008 (during Thaksin Shinawatra’s prime ministership.

4.2% Chadchart Sittipunt, currently Bangkok’s governor and unlikely to put up his hand for the role. He ran in the Bangkok election as an independent candidate but was formerly allied to the Pheu Thai party.

Also Korn Chatikavanij, leader of the Kla Party, Dr Cholnan Srikaew, the Pheu Thai Party leader, and Somkid Jatusripitak, a former deputy PM and leading economic ‘fixer’ for various Thai governments.

Then at the bottom two notable people, both polling below 2%.

Jurin Laksanawisit of the Democrat Party.

And with a mere 1.5% of the poll on his side, Anutin Charnvirakul, leader of the Bhumjaithai Party, current deputy PM and public health minister. As the guiding light through much of the government’s reaction to the Covid pandemic, he is broadly being blamed for the problems brought on by extensive lockdowns, keeping the borders closed and restricting businesses from re-opening earlier.

Another 10 candidates in the poll had a combined a 2% of the vote.

In a related poll, respondents were asked to nominate the party they would vote for in the next election.

36.4% Pheu Thai Party

17.9% Move Forward Party

7% Palang Pracharath Party

6.3% Democrat Party

3% of the Seri Ruam Thai Party

3% of the Thai Sang Thai Party

2.78% of the Kla Party

2.6% the Bhumjaithai Party

Just the top 2 parties in the poll put the 2 main opposition parties (54.3%) way in front and ahead of the Palang Pracaharath party which leads the current coalition.

Both Anutin’s poll and that of his Bhumjaithai party would be an enormous concern for the conservative forces who saw the mercurial public health minister as a possible next PM. The Bhumjaithai Party spearheaded the move to decriminalise cannabis in Thailand and is now facing censure motions in the Thai parliament next month.

Then was a combined 2.5% for all the other parties in the poll… Sang Anakot Thai, Thai Pakdi, Chartthaipattana, Chart Pattana; Prachachart; New Economy; Ruam Thai Sang Chart; Thai Civilised and the Khru Thai Pheu Prachachon parties.

18.7%, said they did not support any particular party.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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