Asia Foundation survey – Part 2: What do the Thai protesters want?By Bangkok Pundit Jan 02, 2014 10:00AM UTC
BP has already blogged about who the anti-government PDRC protesters are and who are the UDD protesters were from a survey on November 30 by the Asia Foundation. This post will look at what the protesters want.
BP: Thaksin should heed the above. Yes, many reds and Puea Thai voters like him (and some love him). Many of these want him to return to Thailand, but as the above survey shows, his return is not necessarily high in the reasons to motivate them to hit the streets to protest. BP is of the view that Thaksin’s return is not high in the order of priorities amongst many red shirts particularly if anything would be sacrificed/it will cause trouble (which it would). If anything, the Amnesty Bill clusterf*ck has made it even more difficult for Thaksin to return (aside from in a coffin OR returning and going directly to jail OR a pardon).
Not surprisingly, Thaksin is the bigger issue for the PDRC supporters and not UDD supporters. It is the dislike of Thaksin and what he represents that is the big motivator for them.
For reds, their motivations are quite different.
BP: Interesting that 26% of PDRC protesters thought the dissolution would end political tension. Could this be they themselves viewed that a dissolution will be sufficient for them? Another, 4% thought a referendum would be the answer but as you can see 44% of PDRC protesters want Suthep’s unelected People’s Assembly. For those surveyed on November 30, there is a divergence of views amongst PDRC protesters about what option they want.
Also, a big gap between UDD and PDRC protesters on what to do to resolve the problem.
BP: The reds clearly favor amending the constitution, but then there is the question of, what will the amendments be? This is interesting in light of the reform-before-election mantra used by the PDRC protest leaders now….
The relevance of these reform questions is that reform will not be an easy task as you can see that between UDD and PDRC protesters have different views on reform. The Yingluck government has tried to move to a fully-elected Senate, but that was rejected by the Court. The Democrats disagreed with the fully-elected Senate form of the government (unclear what form of elected Senate the Democrats would accept) and on most issues there is a clear gap between the Democrats and Puea Thai. It is not just on the issues of reform; it is also the process. Yingluck has a reform proposal; PDRC have one; Prayuth has suggested another; academics have suggested their own etc.
BP: For the reds, only 1% want the status quo, but they are undecided amongst the other options although BP views you could see a clear majority along the lines of amending the 2007 Constitution/drafting a new Constitution by reverting back to the 1997 Constitution with some changes. Nevertheless, it is still unclear from the poll what are the big issues and where the protesters come down on.
BP: This is a problem for the People’s Assembly idea of Suthep. While there is talk of including all professions, the devil will be in the details of what constitutes a “representative” government.
BP: Fairly self-explanatory. It should be note this is not satisfaction with democracy, but satisfaction with democracy in Thailand. BP suspects UDD and PDRC protesters do not share the same reasons for their unsatisfaction with democracy though.
BP: Need one say anymore about the 46% of PDRC supporters who want a “strong leader that doesn’t have to be elected” and only a slight majority of PDRC supporters think democracy is the best way vs 91% of UDD supporters.
BP: Would have been better if people didn’t have one choice because “sovereignty belongs to the people” is interpreted so differently and the above is really what people consider the most important factor of what a country having a democracy is with so many people answers….