Pita holds small lead over 'Ung Ing' in Bangkok
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Pita holds small lead over 'Ung Ing' in Bangkok

MFP leader top PM pick in latest survey

Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the Move Forward Party (MFP), emerged as Bangkok voters' top choice for prime minister in the latest poll by the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida).

This is the first Nida poll in which Mr Pita comes out on top. Previously he has consistently trailed Paetongtarn "Ung Ing" Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai Party.

The poll was conducted among 2,500 eligible voters aged 18 and above from various education and socioeconomic backgrounds in Bangkok's 50 districts between March 15 and 21.

When asked which candidate will they support in the next election, 25.08% favoured Mr Pita, slightly over Ms Paetongtarn, who received 24.2%.

Ranked third was Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha (18.24%), followed by Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan of the Thai Sang Thai Party (5.96%), Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves of the Seri Ruam Thai Party (5.68%) and Korn Chatikavanij of the Chartpattanakla Party (4.84%).

About 5.2% of respondents said no candidates in the coming election are suited for the prime minister's post.

When asked which party they would vote for in the constituency contest, 34.92% of those polled said they would vote for the Pheu Thai Party while 27.72% said they would root for the MFP, followed by 14.32% for Gen Prayut's United Thai Nation (UTN) Party, 6.76% for the Democrat Party and 3.32% for the Chartpattanakla Party.

As for parties that respondents to the poll said they will support in the list system, the Pheu Thai Party came out on top (34.4%), followed by MFP (28.96%), UTN (14.68%), Democrats (6.08%) and the Chartpattanakla Party (3.48%).

Mr Pita said yesterday he appreciated the support that people have given him, adding the results of the Nida poll corresponded with the poll conducted by the party.

"I thank everyone for having trust in me. All your support will be a driving force for us to initiate change," Mr Pita said.

Property tycoon Srettha Thavisin, who serves as an adviser to the Pheu Thai Family head, Ms Paetongtarn, downplayed the poll result, saying Pheu Thai will press ahead with its campaign and will not allow itself to be distracted by the poll result.

He also said the party will unveil its prime ministerial candidates on April 5.

He and Ms Paetontarn are widely speculated to be among its candidates for prime minister. A third name could also be put up.

Suvicha Paoaree, director of Nida Poll, said that even though Mr Pita was the top choice for prime minister, most Bangkok residents still favoured the Pheu Thai Party over the MFP.

In another opinion survey by the Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, or Suan Dusit Poll, Pheu Thai remains a favourite among people throughout the country.

The poll was conducted among 10,614 people between March 1 and 17, before the dissolution of the House of Representatives.

Almost half or 46.16% of respondents surveyed for the poll said they supported Pheu Thai, followed by 15.43% for the MFP, the Bhumjaithai Party (11.12%), the UTN (8.73%), the Democrat Party (7.71%) and the Palang Pracharath Party (7.11%).

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