Public ignorant on charter, poll finds

national June 25, 2012 00:00

By The Nation

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Thailand has been a democratic country for 80 years but most people lack a profound understanding of the Constitution, an opinion survey has found.

The survey by Suan Dusit Pollster found that less than 5 per cent of respondents had a deep knowledge of the Constitution.

It was carried out among 1,245 people on the anniversary of Thailand’s change from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy 80 years ago.

Only 4.7 per cent of respondents said they had a very good knowledge of the Constitution, while 8.9 per cent said they knew nothing about the highest law of the country. The remaining respondents said they had some knowledge about the charter.

The survey found that 41.7 per cent of respondents said they were somewhat interested in the charter and 12.01 per cent were very interested; 31.5 per cent said they were not interested much; while 14.7 per cent said they were not interested in the charter at all.

When asked whether they thought the charter was important for the country, up to 66.4 per cent said yes and 3.4 per cent said no; the rest said it was somewhat important.

The respondents were divided as to whether the ongoing charter amendment should proceed. So far, the third reading has been suspended pending a ruling by the Constitution Court as to whether the amendments would be constitutional or not.

The survey found that 32.1 per cent of the respondents wanted the amendments to proceed and be completed; but 23.5 per cent said the amendments should be aborted; while the rest – or 44.29 per cent – said they were not sure.

Up to 39.7 per cent of respondents said the current charter was rather imperfect, while 14.3 per cent said it was absolutely imperfect, and 37.4 per cent said the charter was rather perfect, while 8.6 per cent said it was already perfect.

On an open-ended question as to how the new charter should be, 54.19 per cent said it should be written based on the voices of the majority of people. And 20.6 per cent said the charter should ensure that justice and transparency prevailed in the country; while 13.4 per cent said it should respond with the changing situation in the country. The remainder said it should have the respect of the people.

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