People split, unsure on charter change

About 40% of people believed the government's latest attempt to rewrite the constitution would deepen the political rift in the country, but only 34% gave it full support, Nida Poll of the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) reported on Monday.

The pollsters surveyed 1,255 people of all education levels and occupations nationwide on Dec 7-8, seeking their opinions on the government’s plan to amend the charter.

Nida reported 60.40% of respondents said they knew about the government’s intention, while 39.60% said they were unaware of it;  90.63% had no idea which articles are going to be changed; 4.75% knew that the charter changes would  will touch on Articles 68, 117, 190, 237, 291 and 309; and only 4.63% believed that it is aimed to facilitate political amnesty. 

When asked who they think would benefit, 29.64% of the respondents were unsure, 20.16% pointed to politicians, 16.18% believed the people and 1.75% said both, according to the pollsters.

Questioned whether they support it, 39.84% said no, believing that it may further divide the nation and would only help politicians, 34.10% pledged their support, thinking that it will bring national reconciliation and 26.06% were unsure.

Thanavath Phonvichai, University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce vice-president for research, said the country's economy would not be at risk from the constitutional amendment process if there is no prolonged political rally that could affect the confidence of investors and the tourism industry.

Mr Thanavath said it is still too soon to determine what type of impact the charter amendment will have on the Thai economy.

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