Should Prayut step down as PM? Online poll seeks public opinion

BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): An academic network is inviting Thai people to cast their digital vote this weekend on whether Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha (pic) should step down on completing eight years as PM on Aug 24.

The voting is being organised by People’s Voice, a network of academics from eight universities, namely Thammasat, NIDA, Srinakharinwirot, Rangsit, Burapha, Chiang Mai, Prince of Songkla, and Ubon Ratchathani, in collaboration with media organisations in Thailand.

Prayut will finish eight years in office next week as he had taken the reins of PM on Aug 24, 2014 following a military coup staged by him that led to the installation of a government backed by the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order.

The current Constitution, which came into force in April 2017, prohibits anyone from serving as prime minister for longer than eight years.

However, there has been a debate on whether the stipulation takes effect retrospectively, as Prayut had taken office before the current Constitution came into effect.

The voting will start on 6am on Saturday (Aug 20) and end at midnight on Sunday (August 21). People can vote by scanning the QR code that appears on TV channels and social media pages of participating media with their mobile phone and vote “yes” or “no”. Each mobile number can vote only once.

Participating media include Nation TV, Thairath TV, Workpoint News, PPTV, The Standard, The Matter, The Momentum, and The Reporters.

The results of the poll will be announced the following Monday.

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