40% say Prayut should quit as PM next year: poll

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha talks to students while presiding over the kick-off of the vaccination campaign for young people aged 12-18 at Pibool Upphatham School in Bangkok’s Lat Phrao district last Monday. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Forty percent of people polled by the National Institute of Development Administration say Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha should declare he will quit as prime minister by August next year, while a slightly smaller number say he should seek a Constitutional Court ruling on the controversy over when his tenure as premier should end.

The poll was conducted on Oct 5-8 by telephone interviews on 1,311 people aged 18 and over of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country to compile their opinions on three political issues -- Gen Prayut's tenure as prime minister, dissolution of the House of Representatives to make way for a general election and a cabinet reshuffle.

Concerning the controversy surrounding Gen Prayut's tenure, the opposition and some academics are of the opinion that his term should end on Aug 24 next year as the constitution bars anyone from serving as PM for more than two four-year terms, regardless of whether the terms were served back-to-back or not. Others say his tenure as premier should begin from Aug 24, 2019 after the March 24, 2019 general election under the 2017 constitution.

Asked to comment on the controversy, 40.73% of the respondents said Gen Prayut should declare he will remain in the position only until the end of August 2022; 38.37% said he should seek the Constitutional Court's ruling on this matter as soon as possible; 15.03% said he need not do anything; and 5.87% had no comment or were not interested.

On a suggestion that the House of Representatives should be dissolved to make way for a general election, 40.35% of the respondents said this should be done as soon as possible; 30.05% said the House of Representatives should be dissolved after the election law had been amended in line with the constitution; 22.12% said Gen Prayut need not dissolve the House of Representatives and should stay on to complete his four-year term; 5.72% said Gen Prayut should dissolve the House of Representatives before he faced another no-confidence debate next year; and 1.76% had no comment or were not interested.

Asked whether the cabinet should undergo a major reshuffle now, 50.34% said "yes"; 18.92% said "no"; 12.36% said the reshuffle should be a minor one, to fill the two vacant cabinet posts with outsiders; 11.82% said there should be a reshuffle, with the two vacant cabinet posts filled by members of the Palang Pracharath Party; and 6.56% had no comment or were not interested.

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