43 per cent of public want martial law lifted: Poll

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BANGKOK, Sept 8 — A total of 43.3 per cent of respondents surveyed by the NIDA Poll feel that martial law, imposed by the military following the May 22 seizure of power should be lifted to create a better image for Thailand and restore investor confidence as the general situation in the country has improved, but an almost equal number — 40.6 per cent believe military order must be continued for the time being.

Conducted among 1,250 people nationwide on Wednesday through Friday last week, the survey showed showed about a 2.5 per cent difference between those wanting an end to martial, and those wanting its continuation until it is certain there is no social divisiveness in the country.

Uncertainty was expressed by another 11.4 per cent of respondents, saying that if martial law is to be lifted, it should be done only in certain provinces or areas.

The survey, conducted by the National Institute of Development Administration, also showed that as many as 87.7 per cent of respondents said they were unaffected by martial law and that they also felt safer than before the coup because soldiers are placed everywhere.

But 11.8 per cent said they were affected because they had to travel at night as well as did not have the full right to political expression, while the economy continues to deteriorate.