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Poll: majority doubt constitutional reform will improve Thai politics




The government of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, in an apparent nod to widespread student protests, has agreed inprinciple to amend Thaland’s Constitution. But according to a survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll, a slim majority of Thais are not confident that constitutional amendments will improve Thai politics. The poll was conducted August 3-4 on 1,255 people aged 18 and over, of various education levels and occupations across the country.

Asked whether they knew that a public referendum is required to amend Section 256 of the Constitution, paving the way for a council set up to draft a new charter, a majority – 75.2% – said they didn’t know, while 24.8% said they did.

Regarding overall opinion on the current proposal for constitutional amendments, 35.1% said Section 256 should be amended first to enable the setting up of a Constitution drafting council; 33.9% believed the Constitution should be amended section by section; 13.9% thought the Constitution should not be amended; and 17% had no answer or weren’t interested.

When asked whether they were confident Thai politics would improve if the Constitution is amended, 53.3% said they were were uncertain, with 27.3% saying they were not confident at all, reasoning that changing the Constitution alone is not enough to make an improvement. and 26% were “not particularly confident”, saying the Constitution has been amended many times before but problems in Thai politics remain.

On the other hand, 23% said they were moderately confident because the new Constitution would come from the people, while 21.3% were highly confident, saying the new Constitution would emphasise people’s participation, and that would help reduce conflict.

The remainder, 2.3%, had no answer or were not interested.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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