Thai Protests Fueled by Discontent Toward Prayuth, Poll Shows

Growing public disapproval of Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha’s performance is fueling the anti-government protests sweeping the Southeast Asian nation, according to an opinion poll.

More than 62% of participants in a survey last week said discontent with Prayuth was the key reason for the recent demonstrations, the poll by Suan Dusit University showed Sunday. About 50% of the 5,738 participants during the Oct. 19 to 22 poll believed the protesters are fighting for more democracy and an end to the continuation of the “dictatorship.”

Prayuth, a former army chief who took power in a 2014 coup and returned as premier after the 2019 elections, told supporters at an event on Saturday that he “won’t resign.” The prime minister has ignored the protesters’ deadline to quit, prompting leading protest groups to announce fresh demonstrations.

Thai Protests Fueled by Discontent Toward Prayuth, Poll Shows

Protesters say a charter -- written by a panel appointed by Prayuth’s junta -- was instrumental in helping Prayuth retain his power. A special session of Thai parliament will be held from Monday to discuss the escalating protest movement, which is also calling for a rewriting of the constitution and reform of the monarchy.

Rallies are expected in Bangkok, which has been hit by daily protests since Oct. 14, on Sunday and Monday as pro-democracy activists pile pressure on Prayuth to quit and demans the immediate release of demonstrators arrested by the police.

Another survey by the National Institute of Development Administration from Oct. 19 to 20 showed 59% of the 1,336 respondents are worried the protests will lead to violence and conflict. While about 36% of the participants have yet to decide on supporting either the protesters or the government, 33% said they had made up their minds.

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