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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thais Endorse PM’s Handling of Cambodia Row

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Most people in Thailand think Abhisit Vejjajiva has handled recent tensions with neighbouring Cambodia well, according to a poll by ABAC. 51.9 per cent of respondents say the prime ministers calm attitude has been appropriate, while 39.4 per cent say his response to Cambodia should be harsher.

Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democratic Party (PP), has been in office since December 2008.

Relations between Thailand and Cambodia have become increasingly tense as, in early November, the Cambodian government announced that it had named former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as an economic adviser.

Thaksin, who was ousted in a coup in 2006, is a polarizing figure in Thailand. His supporters and critics have clashed on the streets since his departure from the country, and Thaksin has called for a "revolution" against the Abhisit government. The former prime minister has been convicted in cases of conflict of interest and would serve two years in jail if he returns to Thailand.

On Nov. 10, Thaksin arrived in Cambodia. The Thai government called for his extradition, which the Cambodian government rejected. Both countries have recalled their respective ambassadors and top diplomats over the Thaksin appointment.

On Nov. 17, Panitan Wattanayagorn, deputy secretary-general to Thai prime minister Abhisit, confirmed that the Thai government is looking for ways to curb aid to Cambodia over the Thaksin issue, declaring, "Most of the projects discussed are aid and loans for infrastructure projects, which might be delayed or cancelled."

Polling Data

Do you think the actions of Thai prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva regarding Cambodia were appropriate or inappropriate?

Appropriate, he stayed calm in spite of provocation 51.9%

Inappropriate, he should take harsher measures in light of these developments 39.4%

Source: Assumption University of Thailand (ABAC)
Methodology: Interviews with 1,344 Thai adults in 17 provinces, conducted in November 2009. Margin of error is 2 per cent.

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