Thai public disillusioned with self-serving politicians: poll

BANGKOK (The Nation/ANN) - Survey shows majority of people doubting legitimacy of PM and the coalition govt.

As prospective political partners spar over Cabinet portfolios even before a coalition government has been formed, an overwhelmingly large number of people surveyed for a poll recently said they saw the whole exercise as driven by personal rather than national interest.
More than 89 per cent of the poll respondents viewed the current government formation deliberations between coalition partners as just a matter of dividing the cake among themselves. Only 10.7 per cent said they felt the politicians had public well-being in mind.
Some 81.9 per cent said the political leaders were hitting the self-destruct button while only 18.1 per cent believed they were heading for something better.
An overwhelming 87.1 per cent of people surveyed also viewed the current political developments as illegitimate while only 12.9 per cent believed the new prime minister and government would be legitimate.
The poll was released yesterday amid uncertainty surrounding the coalition deal. It was conducted by Super Poll from Monday to Saturday last week on 1,122 people.
The poll also found that nearly three quarters, or 72.3 per cent of the respondents, were convinced by news reports of attempts to buy anti-junta MPs to vote for coup leader General  Prayut Chan-o-cha to be the PM.
Some 16.2 per cent, however, said they believed it was a tactic to discredit political rivals and 11.5 per cent saw it as an attempt by MPs to increase their bargaining power.
Noppadon Kannika, director of the poll agency, advised the powers that be to quickly stabilise the situation in line with democratic ideals. 
The public sentiment towards the current political leaders was negative, he said. Politicians should represent different interest groups to reduce conflict, and not themselves become a part of the conflict, the scholar added.
“A solution is that the powers that be keep the promise made to coalition parties before the PM vote last week,” Noppadon said. “Breaking the promise could be considered a soft coup, which is negative to begin with [for a new government].”
The poll director was referring to the Cabinet portfolio issue that was holding up the formation of government. Potential coalition parties reportedly were clashing over some key ministries such as Agriculture, Transport and Commerce.
The coalition leader, Phalang Pracharat, had promised prior to the vote that reinstalled Prayut as the premier to allocate them to the coalition partners but it has been backtracking.
On Saturday night, key coalition party Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul posted on his Facebook that the ministries were for work not for trade.
Many believe that the politician, who was also a construction tycoon, was expressing his displeasure as Phalang Pracharat was reallocating the portfolios and Bhumjaithai may not get the ministries of Transport, Tourism, and Public Health.
In response, Phalang Pracharat spokesman Thanakorn Wangboon- kongchara posted sarcastically on Facebook yesterday that he agreed the ministries were for work. He added that it was not for businessmen to seek to benefit their own corporation.
In another survey, by Suan Dusit, on 1,128 people from Thursday to Saturday, 72.27 per cent of respondents saw the parties as only seeking to serve their own interest, contending for ministries with huge budgets.
A majority of the poll respondents expressed disappointment that the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties had decided to join the Phalang Pracharat-led coalition.
Nearly two-thirds of the respondents (63.32 per cent) said they were disappointed, as the decision was not in line with the Democrat Party’s ideology while 58.2 per cent said that Bhumjaithai had broken their promise to voters and thus disrespected the people’s voice.
Nearly three-quarters, or 73.65 per cent, expected the government to be short-lived. 
The rest 26.35 per cent said they could complete the four-year term because the Constitution had been designed to favour them and they had the 250 senators’ support.

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