Demands for elections in Thailand rising sharply: poll

After three years under the junta, a nationwide poll has found that 50.6% of citizens desire as soon as possible — a jump in support for democracy from previous years. But the nation remains split over the military’s leadership.
 
According to the latest poll from the research centre of Bangkok University, a little over half of respondents selected “feeling alert and wanting elections as soon as possible” when asked about their feelings towards future elections. 
 
The poll on the popularity of political parties after 3 years of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) surveyed 1,269 citizens across all regions of the country and found rising discontent with the military government. 
 
A similar poll last year found only 36.22% of respondents wanted elections, while one run by Suan Dusit University in 2014 found that only 24.89% of respondents were in favour of elections as soon as possible.  
 
24.6% of respondents felt neutral about the need for elections soon while 21.8% reported “a feeling of wanting to continue in this way with the country at peace”. The remaining 3 per cent were undecided.
 
In response to the question “If today you had the right to vote for the Prime Minister, would you vote to support Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha as Prime Minister?”, a slight majority of 52.8% selected “would support”, down 9% from the last Bangkok University poll in January 2016.
 
25.6% of respondents selected “would not support” and the final 21.6% said they would abstain from voting.  In Thai elections, voters do not directly elect the Prime Minister.
 
While the junta’s ‘roadmap to democracy’ originally promised elections by late 2017, the NCPO’s continual foot-dragging has made the date of Thailand’s next elections uncertain.
 
Despite falling satisfaction with the NCPO, the survey results also show that no political party in Thailand enjoys wide support. The Pheu Thai Party led the popularity ratings, being the favoured party of 17.8% of respondents. The next most popular was the Democrat Party with 15.6%. 
 
 
The junta head Gen Prayut Chan-ocha at a polling station in February 2014 (Photo from Banmuang)