Army-appointed Thai PM’s popularity drops further

Yahoo!Sunday February 25, 6:40 PM

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BANGKOK (Reuters) – Army-appointed Thai Prime Minister Surayud
Chulanont has suffered a further fall in popularity months after the
removal of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, according to a poll
released on Sunday.

Surayud, a former army commander-in-chief and adviser to revered
King Bhumibol Adulyadej, won approval from 34.8 percent of respondents,
compared with 39.2 percent early this month and 70.5 percent in
November, it showed.

Respondents expressed disappointment over Surayud’s failure to bring graft charges against Thaksin.

Around half also expressed doubts that a general election
promised within 12 months by the army when it booted out Thaksin in a
Sept. 19 coup would not happen this year.

The poll, by Bangkok’s Assumption University, interviewed 1,373 people in the capital during Feb. 21-24.

Chief pollster Noppadon Kannika said the poll results were of
national significance since the political mood in the capital has
tended to determine the fate of the country.

The poll also suggested Surayud’s administration had not brought
more happiness to the electorate than Thaksin’s, and was
underperforming its predecessor in combatting social problems such as
drug abuse.

The army cited “rampant corruption” as one of the main reasons
for its removal of Thaksin, winner of landslide election victories in
2001 and 2005.

A graft-busting panel set up to probe alleged wrongdoings
committed by him, his cabinet ministers and their families has failed
to produce any concrete evidence.

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