BANGKOK – According to the latest Suan Dusit Poll a majority of people say they agree with Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s remark that he might have to stay on and that the country could be closed if there is no peace and order.
The poll was conducted on 1,119 people throughout the country between Oct 29 and 31 to gauge their opinions on the meeting of the “five main rivers — the government, Constitution Drafting Committee, National Reform Steering Assembly and National Council for Peace and Order — last week.
During his Wednesday address before members of the so-called “five rivers” of power — the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the cabinet, the National Legislative Assembly, the Constitution Drafting Committee and the National Reform Steering Assembly — Gen Prayut threatened to prolong his stay in power and “close the country” if political conflicts lingered.
“Politicians do not have to be suspicious of me. [The media] writes every day that I intend to cling to power. I must make it clear. If there is no peace and order, I must stay on and if we have to close the country, so be it,” Gen Prayut said.
In reply, 55.07% of respondents said they agreed with the prime minister, reasoning that he is a man who does what he says, and that he said this might be a way out if the country was still plagued with conflicts; 30.40% disagreed, reasoning that it might do more harm than good to the country and could trigger resistance; and 14.53% were indifferent, saying that everything rested with the prime minister and they only hoped he would think of the majority before making a decision.
Asked what they think are the “strong points” of the Prayut government, 79.71% pointed to the prime minister’s right to exercise power under Section 44 of the interim constitution; 74.44% mentioned the government’s ability to direct all sides to move in the same direction; and 71.02% mentioned Gen Prayut’s strong leadership and decisiveness.
Asked about the government’s “weak points”, 78.73% said it had to work at a time when the economy is suffering from economic recession; 75.23% pointed to the fact that it had a limited time to work but many problems to solve; and 68.61% said being a non-elected government, it had not won sufficient recognition from other countries.
To the question of what they want Gen Prayut to use his power under Section 44 of the interim constitution for, the respondents said they wanted him to use it to get rid of corruption and influential persons (80.08%), to do away with social disparities (78.55); to solve problems over improper conduct of politicians (72.21%); to end social conflict (69.08%); and to eradicate injustice (67.56%).
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon yesterday came out in defense of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after he remarked he would stay on in power and “close the country” if peace in Thailand proves elusive.
“The prime minister did not mean it literally,” Gen Prawit insisted yesterday the Bangkok Post reported.