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Thai PM loses ground to main rival as election looms

Support for Thailand’s prime minister is slipping, an opinion poll shows, as the country prepares to dissolve parliament ahead of elections.

March 21, 2023
By Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat
21 March 2023

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is falling further behind his main election rival, the daughter of popular billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, a new opinion poll shows, as the nation awaits the dissolution of parliament ahead of elections.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra’s support jumped 10 points to 38.2 per cent in a survey conducted by the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) published at the weekend, while Prayut trailed in third place with 15.65 per cent.

Opposition politician Pita Limjaroenrat, who heads the Move Forward party, received support from 15.75 per cent of respondents.

Thailand is expected to hold an election in May, which will continue a long-running political battle between the Shinawatra family and the conservative pro-military establishment.

Paetongtarn, as leader of the main opposition Phue Thai party, has been campaigning across the country with its candidates. 

Ung Ing, as she is known by her nickname, is the party’s nominee for prime minister.

The NIDA Poll, which surveyed 2000 voters across Thailand in March, also showed almost 50 per cent of respondents said they would back parliamentary candidates from Pheu Thai.

Deputy Prime Minster Wissanu Krea-ngam said the Royal Gazette would announce the dissolution of parliament later on Monday.

Under electoral rules, the race must be held between 45 to 60 days after parliament is dissolved.

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