In polls, Thai public cautiously back Yingluck on political reform, including elected Senate

An opinion survey conducted by Bangkok University claims that a majority of respondents is in favour of Constitutional amendment that would pave way for the fully elected Senate. The poll comes after another poll that says a majority of the Thai people say it is now time for political reform and agree with most of the steps taken by the government to go in that direction, Suan Dusit Poll revealed on Sunday. Suan Dusit carried out a survey on political reform on 1,648 people aged 18 and over throughout the country between Aug 12-17. To the question of whether it is now time for political reform, the majority or 72.9% said it is, citing the problems of political divisiveness, corruption and abuse of power which have obstructed the country’s development. However, 27.71% said it is not yet time for political reform because most people still do not have a proper understanding of it. Asked to comment on steps being taken by the government to attain political reform, 66.17% said they agreed with some, but not all of them, particularly the invitation to world leaders to join the reconciliation process. Only 11.69% said they agreed with all steps. The rest, or 22.14%, did not agree with any of the steps taken by the government, saying they were designed to benefit only a certain group of people and were a waste of money.

According to the current 2007 Constitution,  74 of the 150 Senators are appointed by a panel of so-called experts. The Parliament is debating whether to increase the Senate to 200 fully elected members, a proposal tabled by the Pheu Thai Party and bitterly opposed by the Democrat Party. The survey interviewed 429 individuals “across the country”. 59.2% of the respondents say they agree with the Constitutional amendment on the Senate, while another 21% say they disagree and 19.8% say they are not sure. 46.2% also voice support for an amendment that would abolish the ban on parents, spouses, and children of MPs from being eligible as Senate election candidates.  However, the respondents appear to be divided on intention of the Pheu Thai Party′s efforts to amend the Constitution. 35.5% say they are not sure whether the amendment would lead an autocratic parliamentary system, while 34.7% say they are convinced that would be the case. Asked whether the good effects would outweigh the bad effects following the Constitution′s amendment, 36.8% say they are not sure, 24.4% say they believe so, and 19.1% say they don′t. (Source)

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