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(11/27/07) -

Thais Want Former Opposition Leader as PM

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in Thailand would favour the Democratic Party – Phak Prachatipat (PP) and its leader Abhisit Vejjajiva in an upcoming general election, according to a poll by Bangkok University. 43 per cent of respondents would vote for the PP in next month’s ballot, and 46 per cent want to see Abhisit become prime minister.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many people in Thailand would favour the Democratic Party – Phak Prachatipat (PP) and its leader Abhisit Vejjajiva in an upcoming general election, according to a poll by Bangkok University. 43 per cent of respondents would vote for the PP in next month’s ballot, and 46 per cent want to see Abhisit become prime minister.

The People’s Power Party – Phak Palang Prachachon (PPP) is second with 24 per cent, followed by the Thai Nation Party – Phak Chart Thai (PCT) with seven per cent, the For the Motherland Party – Phak Pua Paendin (FTM) with three per cent, the Matchimathipataya Party (MCM) with two per cent, Thais United – Thai Ruam Jai Thai (RJT) with one per cent, and the Royal People Party – Pracharaj (RPP) also with one per cent.

The PP was Thailand’s main opposition party during the tenure of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, leader of the Thai Love Thais Party – Phak Thai Rak Thai (TRT).

In April 2006, a general election was held after Thaksin decided to dissolve the House of Representatives. In May 2006, Thailand’s Constitutional Court ruled that the April general election was unconstitutional. In September, the Thai Armed Forces enacted a military coup. The group declared martial law, suspended the constitution, and affirmed their loyalty to the King. Surayud Chulanont was later appointed as the new head of government.

In May, a military-appointed Constitutional Tribunal banned Thaksin from participating in politics for five years, and ordered the dissolution of the TRT for allegedly breaking electoral rules in the annulled April 2006 ballot. The opposition PP was absolved of any wrongdoing.

In July, the interim government approved the draft of a new Constitution. In August, Thai voters ratified the new charter in a nationwide referendum, with roughly 58 per cent of the vote. The legislative election is scheduled for Dec. 23.

In late July, several members of the TRT agreed to participate in the next general election with the PPP, a small and relatively unknown existing party. About 440 former members of the TRT have applied to join the PPP so far. Other TRT members created the Love the Nation Party – Phak Rak Chat (PRC), and a third group has assembled the RJT.

PPP leader Samak Sundaravej is second to Abhisit in the preferred prime minister category with 23 per cent. No other party leader reaches double digits.

On Nov. 22, Abhisit launched a 24-hour tour to shake hands with "people from all walks of life," including sex trade workers and weekend party crowds. The PP leader said he wanted to meet "the people who work at night" and hear their thoughts on Thailand’s political life.

Polling Data

Which party would you vote for in the December election? (Proportional representation)

Democratic Party – Phak Prachatipat (PP)

43%

People’s Power Party – Phak Palang Prachachon (PPP)

24%

Thai Nation Party – Phak Chart Thai (PCT)

7%

For the Motherland Party – Phak Pua Paendin (FTM)

3%

Matchimathipataya Party (MCM)

2%

Thais United – Thai Ruam Jai Thai (RJT)

1%

Royal People Party – Pracharaj (RPP)

1%

Who would you prefer as prime minister?

Abhisit Vejjajiva (PP)

46%

Samak Sundaravej (PPP)

23%

Banharn Silapa-archa (PCT)

6%

Suwit Khunkitti (FTM)

3%

Chettha Thanajaro (RJT)

2%

Prachai Leophairatana (MCM)

1%

Snoh Thienthong (RPP)

1%

Source: Bangkok University
Methodology: Interviews with 1,507 Thai adults in 16 provinces, conducted from Nov. 16 to Nov. 19, 2007. No margin of error was provided.