Most Thais want reforms before elections: Poll

Bangkok, June 7 (IANS) Most Thais agree that the country should carry out reforms before holding general elections, according to an opinion poll released on Sunday.

Suan Dusit Rejabhat University conducted the poll among 1,249 people nationwide from Wednesday to Saturday after 26 members of the National Reform Council proposed holding a referendum to decide whether the military government should stay in power for two more years to complete the reform process.

Thailand is likely to hold new general elections in September 2016 if the draft constitution survives a national referendum, but it could be further postponed if Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is also head of the junta, extends his time in office.

More than 75 percent of the respondents supported the proposal to complete reforms before elections, saying reforms would ready the country in various fields, while the rest insisted that elections should be held as soon as possible, Xihua news agency reported.

The majority of the respondents believed that reforms should give priority to such fields as economy, politics, education and bureaucracy, according to the poll results.

In addition, when asked about the time needed for reforms, the respondents offered varying answers, with 36.2 percent supportive of two years and 31.09 percent saying one year.

Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, member of the Election Commission (EC), reportedly said that the EC was ready to conduct a referendum if the proposal was endorsed.

The premier has remained noncommittal to the proposal, but said earlier that he was willing to stay on if people wanted him to.

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