SATURDAY, March 02, 2024

Watanya top choice for new Democrat leader, Nida Poll shows

Watanya top choice for new Democrat leader, Nida Poll shows

Watanya Bunnag, known as the “steel flower” of politics, is the most preferred candidate to lead the Democrat Party, according to a survey by the National Institute of Development Administration.

The results of the Nida Poll survey, however, also revealed the waning popularity of Thailand’s oldest political party as most respondents said they had never voted for the party or had not voted for it in recent elections.

In a stark reflection of the party's current standing, the number of respondents who said they did not care or had no comment exceeded those who chose Watanya, also known as “Madam Dear”, to lead.

The Democrat Party general assembly will meet on December 9 to elect its new leader and executive board after Jurin stepped down, taking responsibility for the humiliating defeat in the May 14 general election.

So far, only Watanya and Narapat Kaeothong have announced their candidacy for the top Democrat post.

The survey was carried out among 1,310 respondents who were at least 18 years old from around the country. It was conducted by phone interviews from November 28-30.

Here are the survey questions and the responses:

▪︎ Who do you think is suitable to the lead the Democrat Party?

28.32% - No comment, don’t care

27.10% - Watanya

20.46% - Chalermchai Sri-on, acting party secretary-general

9.39% - Abhisit Vejjajiva, former party leader

7.94% - Narapat Kaeothong, acting deputy leader

6.03% - Chuan Leekpai, former party leader

0.76% - Others, including Dr Suchatvee Suwansawat, former Democrat leader Jurin Laksanawisit, and former leader Banyat Bantadtan.

▪︎ Have you voted for the Democrat Party?

50.53% - Never

35.80% - Used to vote for Democrats, but not in the May 14 election

12.52% - Used to vote for Democrats, including in May 14 election

1.15% - Have not yet exercised voting right

▪︎ How has the Democrat Party survived for 65 years?

39.62% - Democrat has fan clubs and a strong base in the South of Thailand

30.92% - Past Democrat leaders showed strong leadership

26.41% - Democrat has been developed into an institute.

▪︎ What do you expect would happen after the party election?

36.11% - Democrats will have more unity

24.58% - Volatile rifts will continue

18.39% - Party will break up with some factions bolting

15.27% - Democrats will be unable to elect a new leader

5.65% - No comment, don’t care.