40% of Thais Oppose Parole for Former PM Thaksin, Poll Reveals

A recent poll survey revealed that around 40% of the Thai population disagreed with the decision by the Department of Corrections to grant parole to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Thaksin is now residing at his Chan Song La home in Bangkok, having qualified for parole by serving one-third of his sentence and due to his old age and health issues.

Since his return in August of the previous year after a 15-year self-imposed exile, Thaksin has avoided imprisonment and has instead spent his sentence at the Police General Hospital.

The Pheu Thai Party, currently in power, stated that Thaksin, now 74, faces serious health issues, including cervical spondylosis and arm tendonitis, compounded by the effects of long Covid after contracting the virus three times while living abroad.

The National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) conducted the survey with 1,310 participants aged 18 and above, from across the country, between February 20 and 22. The results were announced on Sunday.

When questioned about the Department of Corrections’ ability to reduce sentences or grant parole post-verdict, 40% of those surveyed were strongly against such authority, with 19.47% in strong support and 19.16% moderately disagreeing.

Furthermore, 41.69% strongly supported the involvement of external experts in the parole decision process, 24.58% somewhat agreed, and 24.27% were strongly opposed.

Regarding the political implications of the parole decision:

– 50.38%: Thaksin would take up a role as adviser to Pheu Thai
– 28.93%: Rallies against Thaksin would not be severe
– 26.72%: Pheu Thai’s popularity would drop due to Thaksin’s role
– 21.68%: Strong rallies against Thaksin would be severe
– 19.69%: Pheu Thai-Move Forward political competition will intensify
– 19.24%: A Cabinet reshuffle will happen soon
– 17.63%: Thaksin will no longer interfere with Thai politics
– 17.02%: PM Srettha Thavisin will retain his position for the full tenure
– 14.43%: Thailand would have two PMs
– 12.21%: Government House will retain its political power
– 11.15%: Political power will shift to Chan Song La residence
– 11.07%: Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra will take over as PM from Srettha
– 9.54%: Pheu Thai’s popularity will rise thanks to Thaksin’s role
– 6.11%: Pheu Thai and Move Forward’s friendship will strengthen