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Polls Indicate Thais Welcome Military Action After Months of Political Uncertainty


Thais have generally reacted positively to this week's coup, with polls pointing to support in both urban and rural areas for the military intervention. Many people hope the coup leaders will stick to promises of political reform and elections next year.

A poll released after Tuesday's military coup in Thailand showed Thais overwhelmingly support the action, because it ended months of political tensions.

The respected Rajabhat Institute poll showed more than 80 percent approval for the coup, which ended the government of Thaksin Shinawatra. Mr. Thaksin is now in London.

Early this year, tens-of-thousands of protesters called on Mr. Thaksin to resign over allegations of corruption and abuse of power. There also were growing rifts between the prime minister and the military.

Khun Dah, a Bangkok housewife, supports the coup.

"We were waiting for a long time, because the politics this last couple of years is not so good," she said.

The country has been calm since the coup, and except for an increased military presence in some areas, there is little outward sign the military has seized control. Foreign tourists - who are key to Thailand's economy - continue to arrive to enjoy the country's beaches and bars.

The coup leaders, headed by Army General Sondhi Boonyaratglin, have promised to appoint a civilian prime minister within two weeks and hold elections in October 2007.

Phakachom Manutham, a sales assistant, says her support for the coup lies in the fact that it ended the risk of violent conflicts between pro- and anti-Thaksin groups.

She says it is good to have the reform by General Sondhi, because, if the political reform is successful this time, the country will get back democracy.

A Thai banker, who asked not to be named, backed calls for investigations into allegations of corruption within Mr. Thaksin's government.

"If some people do the wrong way, and General Sondhi try to make it the right way, I think it's good," the banker said. "The situation is better, and it's very friendly between soldiers and people, you see. And the news from General Sondhi, they try to change everything on the right way. I think, it's going to be good."

Others, such as this government worker, who said his name was Mr. Jed, look to the military to keep its promise of constitutional reform.

"[General Sondhi] said that he will give the new prime minister in two weeks and also the new constitutional law within one year from now. We wait to see that," he said.

Thai newspaper editorials and commentaries Friday also called on the military to stand by the promise to return power to the people as soon as possible. The Bangkok Post newspaper said it hoped the coup leaders' deeds are as good as their words.

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