Thailand’s military government on Tuesday set August 7 as the date for a referendum on a controversial Constitution it has drafted since seizing power in a coup two years ago.
Thailand’s military government on Tuesday set August 7 as the date for a referendum on a controversial Constitution it has drafted since seizing power in a coup two years ago. The referendum will be the country’s first return to the ballot box since junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha toppled an elected government and suspended democracy in May 2014.
“The Cabinet has approved the referendum bill proposed by the election committee,” junta spokesperson Major General Sansern Kaewkumnerd told reporters after announcing the August 7 date.
Constitution rewrites have done little to end the kingdom’s seemingly endless cycle of coups and political turbulence — this is the twentieth charter since absolute monarchy was abolished in 1932.
Mr Prayut insists this version will help him deliver on his vow to rid the country of corruption and bring stability once and for all.
But civilian politicians on both sides of Thailand’s divide have already shot down drafts of the charter as undemocratic, a rare show of unity. In the past week two high-profile rival ex-Premiers, Thaksin Shinawatra and Abhisit Vejjajiva, have slammed the Constitution, saying it is unlikely to resolve bitter political disputes.
The past decade since Thaksin was toppled by a coup has been marked by a series of mass street protests and changes of government, as rural-based supporters of Mr Thaksin struggle to wrest power from a Bangkok-centric network of business and military elite.