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Most Thais oppose plan for Pheu Thai-military coalition government – poll


BANGKOK (Reuters) – Most Thais disagree with the leading plan for a coalition government including military-backed groups, an opinion poll showed on Sunday, two days ahead of a parliamentary vote aiming to end a three-month political stalemate.

About 64% of 1,310 respondents disagreed or totally disagreed with the idea of the Pheu Thai party forming a “special government” with military-backed rivals, according to the survey by the National Institute of Development Administration.

Thailand has been under a caretaker government for five months and faces prolonged uncertainty after the winner of the May election, Move Forward, was blocked from forming a government by conservative legislators allied with the royalist military.

The second-place Pheu Thai, founded by the family of self-exiled billionaire former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, this month took over efforts to form a government.

Pheu Thai, set to nominate real estate tycoon Srettha Thavisin as prime minister on Tuesday, needs the support of more than half the bicameral legislature, including the military-appointed Senate.

Also on Tuesday, Thaksin is set to return to Thailand, despite facing a jail sentence, his daughter, Paetongtarn Shinawatra, said on Saturday.

Pheu Thai governments were ousted by military coups in 2006 and 2014 – which ousted Thaksin and his sister Yingluck Shinawatra, respectively – when the party’s interests clashed with the country’s powerful old money elites and royalist military.

Sunday’s poll found prime ministerial candidate Paetongtarn as the preferred prime minister with 38.6% support, followed by Srettha at 36.6%.

Pheu Thai on Thursday gained support from the military-backed rival United Thai Nation Party. A lawmaker from another pro-military party, Palang Pracharat, said this month the party would back Pheu Thai in trying to the protracted deadlock.

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring; Editing by William Mallard)

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