A majority of people do not want to see Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha take over from Gen Prawit Wongsuwon as leader of the Palang Pratharath Party (PPRP) or set up his own party for the next general election, according to the result of an opinion survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.
The poll was conducted through telephone interviews on Sept 13-16 on 1,317 people aged 18 and over of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country.
Although Gen Prayut received sufficient votes to stay on as prime minister, internal rifts emerged in the PPRP -- the core of the ruling coalition -- amid reports of some party core members led by PPRP secretary-general Capt Thamanat Prompow manoeuvring to unseat Gen Prayut by lobbying for coalition MPs of small parties to vote against him.
As a consequence of the alleged attempt to unseat him, Gen Prayut removed Capt Thamanat as deputy agriculture and cooperatives minister and Narumol Pinyosinwat as deputy labour minister.
Asked to comment on the removal of Capt Thamanat and Ms Narumol from the cabinet, the respondents' answers varied as follows:
- 23.99% said the action was appropriate;
- 23.54% said the three powerful figures in the party -- Gen Prayut, Gen Prawit and Gen Anupong Paojinda - were only playing a political game and they would remain united;
- 17.16% said the action was inappropriate;
- 16.70% predicted more rifts in the PPRP;
- 11.92% said Gen Prayut's political popularity would shrink;
- 7.67% said Gen Prayut and his government would be less secure;
- 4.10% said Gen Prayut, Gen Prawit and Gen Anupong were becoming estranged;
- 3.57% said Gen Prayut and his government would become stronger;
- 3.11% said Gen Prayut would gain more popularity;
- 1.52% said the PPRP would becomome stronger; and
- The rest, 17.69%, did not answer or were not interested.
Asked to comment on a suggestion that Gen Prayut should succeed Gen Prawit as PPRP leader, a majority, 56.11%, said Gen Prayut should not get involved in the PPRP's internal affairs; 21.51% said it was unnecessary for him to be the leader as long as he could keep the party under control; 16.33% said he should take over from Gen Prawit as PPRP leader; and 6.00% did not answer or were not interested.
Asked whether they thought Gen Prayut should set up a political party of his own for the next general election, a majority -- 66.06% -- disagreed. Of them, 58.24% said Gen Prayut had failed in his administration, lacked leadership, and was unable to solve the country's problems, and it was time for him to step down. A further 7.82% said he should make way for a more capable and knowledgeable person to take his place.
On the other side, 19.97% agreed, saying Gen Prayut was capable and decisive in solving problems and 10.10% were in moderate agreement, saying Gen Prayut made the people feel confident that under his leadership the country would stay peaceful and united, and he should set up his own political party so that he would be able to find qualified party members with the capability to help the country become more developed.
The rest, 3.87%, did not answer or were not interested.