Majority of Thais Not Satisfied With Srettha Government’s Performance, Nida Poll Shows

(Bloomberg) -- Most Thais are unhappy with the performance of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s government since it took power nine months ago as it has failed to resolve the country’s problems, according to an opinion poll.

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About 66% participants said they were either “not very satisfied” or “not satisfied at all” by the coalition government’s performance, according to the June 4-5 survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, known as Nida. The poll of 1,310 Thais age 18 and above has a margin of error of 3%, the agency said.

A third of the respondents were either “somewhat satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the administration’s efforts to push various policies aimed at improving the economy and the overall well-being of people, the Nida poll showed.

Almost 71% of the survey participants said they are not confident about the incumbent government’s ability to solve the country’s problems as there have been no major changes or clear results since it came to power. About 27% remain confident that Srettha’s cabinet has the experience and intention to develop the country.

Srettha, who took power in September after a messy general election last year, heads an 11-party coalition led by Pheu Thai Party and military-aligned conservative groups. The former property mogul has struggled to ease the cost of living, tackle the highest household debt in Southeast Asia and lift growth from the sub-2% levels that marked nearly a decade of military-backed rule.

Srettha’s own fate as prime minister now hangs in balance with the Constitutional Court scrutinizing a petition to disqualify him for an alleged ethical breach. A group of senators had alleged Srettha’s decision to appoint Pichit Chuenban as a cabinet minister in April had constituted a serious violation of ethical standards as the former lawyer was once convicted and sentenced to jail for an attempt to bribe court officials while representing former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra during a corruption trial.

The court has yet to set a date for ruling in the case but had granted Srettha 15 days to file his written defense statement.

Asked about possible changes to the government in two months, about 43% of Nida survey respondents said they expect Srettha to remain the prime minister with about 10% predicting a change of guard.

Srettha has said he remains confident of coming out clean in the case and has focused on measures to shore up growth in Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy. His government has pledged a cash handout of 10,000 baht ($272) each to about 50 million adult Thais to stimulate consumption and manufacturing and proposed to increase state spending and a wider fiscal deficit to fund the program.

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