BANGKOK, Jan 14 – More than half the Thai populace does not believe the country’s intense political conflict will end if former premier Thaksin Shinawatra is out of the picture, according to a new survey by Assumption University (ABAC), and advised that the deposed leader should be invited back to the scene as part of the solution to the problem.
ABAC’s Research Centre conducted the survey among 2,071 people in 17 provinces Jan 7-12. Eighty-eight per cent of the respondents said they followed political news in the media every week while the rest said they were not updated weekly but quite regularly.
The poll disclosed that 52.7 per cent of Thais suggested that the internal conflict would continue even if Mr Thaksin abandoned Thai politics, while 47.3 per cent said the conflict would come to an end.
On the self-exiled premier’s role in Thai society, 67.9 per cent said Mr Thaksin should help resolve the kingdom’s economic problems and attract foreign investment while 32.1 per cent said he should resolve political conflicts in the country.
Asked about the purposes of people associated with Mr Thaksin, 56.1 per cent said they exploited the former premier for their own self-interest, power and well being while 43.9 per cent believed Mr Thaksin’s loyalists outnumbered opportunists.
A substantial majority of respondents, 82.6 per cent, are confident that implementation of the democratic system would end bickering among the Thai people, while 17.4 per cent did not believe so.
Asked about the Phra Viharn (Preah Vihear) temple dispute, 70.1 per cent said it should be left to the justice system while 29.9 per cent agreed with the civic movement which is taking a strong nationalist position against giving up any Thai soil.
On the best solution to the problem of the overlapping border area, 66.8 per cent suggested that Thailand and Cambodia set up a committee to work on guidelines for joint development of the area while 33.2 per cent said it should be ruled on which country owns the land.
Citing the unimproved political situation in Thailand, ABAC Poll proposed that Mr Thaksin join in the country’s attempt for harmony and economic development as desired by certain quarters of the public.
It said the proposal was based on a poll result in favour of Mr Thaksin’s continued role in the country.
The ABAC poll said the former’s premier activities should be in line with the people’s desire and he should show his loyalty to the core pillar of the nation, [the monarch and the royal institution].
The ABAC Poll also proposed the recruitment of a group of “good and smart” people to work for the government in resolving the people’s economic hardship and seeing to it that the government’s image is not ruined.