Poll: Support for southern talks

Nearly two-thirds of people polled by Nida believe peace talks with the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) could lead to an end to the unrest in southern Thailand.

  • Published: 16/03/2013 at 12:28 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

Pollsters from the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) based the conclusion on interviews conducted on March 14 and 15 with 1,669 people of all education levels and occupations nationwide.

Nida said 64.9% of respondents believed peace talks would lead to an end to the southern unrest, that negotiations would solve the problem at the right point and were better than the use of force.

But 23.9% disagreed, saying there should be no talks with the BRN. They also said any talks would be fruitless, attached too much importance to the insurgent group, and were just a political game.

By regions, 67.7% of respondents living outside the three southernmost provinces supported the peace talks, while 23.1% disagreed.

Some 56% of those living in the three southernmost provinces backed the plan and 26.5% opposed it.

Asked whether conditions in the far South had improved since the National Security Council and the BRN met in Malaysia recently to sign an agreement for talks, 41.9% of the respondents said conditions were unchanged. Another 25.7% said conditions were better, but 17.38 said things had worsened and the remainder had no opinion.

A total of 39.6% of the respondents living outside the three southern border provinces said the situation remained the same and 27.1% said violence had lessened.

Among those in the three provinces, 49% thought the level of violence was unchanged and 21.25% said conditions were better.

Nida Poll chief Suwicha Pao-aree said the survey showed that people supported the efforts to settle the southern unrest problem being done by the government.

The fact that support for the talks among respondents living in the three southernmost provinces was lower than elsewhere reflected the fact that local people were living in fear, Ms Suwicha added.

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