Ahead of crucial referendum, Thai junta promises elections in 2017

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a general election in 2017, Thailand’s junta chief Prayuth Chan-o-cha said, no matter what the outcome of the crucial national referendum on a new constitution on August 7 is.

“We need to hold a general election in 2017 because that is a promise we made,” he said, adding that “over the next days, the future of the country will be decided.”

Two years after the military seized power in a May 2014 coup, Thais this Sunday will vote whether to accept a constitution that critics, including major political parties, say would weaken the role of elected officials and extend the military’s influence for years to come.

They will  be asked two questions requiring a yes or no answer:

a. Do you accept the draft constitution?

b. Should the Upper House of Parliament be permitted to join the Lower House in selecting a Prime Minister?

Note: The second questions refers to a Senate (Upper House) with seats reserved for military commanders that would check the powers of elected lawmakers.

If the constitution, which would be Thailand’s 20th since the military abolished absolute monarchy in 1932, is approved, the military junta can claim legitimacy and plan the election. A “no” vote could delay a return to democracy as the junta would have to produce a new draft.

Thailand’s interim, military-backed governing body National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) says the referendum was a major step on their roadmap to a “fully-functioning democracy”. It claims the new constitution will enhance the ability of the next government to fight against corruption while ensuring the NCPO’s current programme of reforms will not be cut short. However, rights groups say the constitution extends too much power to the unelected NCPO, meaning their influence would remain well past their interim tenure.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

a general election in 2017, Thailand’s junta chief Prayuth Chan-o-cha said, no matter what the outcome of the crucial national referendum on a new constitution on August 7 is.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

a general election in 2017, Thailand’s junta chief Prayuth Chan-o-cha said, no matter what the outcome of the crucial national referendum on a new constitution on August 7 is.

“We need to hold a general election in 2017 because that is a promise we made,” he said, adding that “over the next days, the future of the country will be decided.”

Two years after the military seized power in a May 2014 coup, Thais this Sunday will vote whether to accept a constitution that critics, including major political parties, say would weaken the role of elected officials and extend the military’s influence for years to come.

They will  be asked two questions requiring a yes or no answer:

a. Do you accept the draft constitution?

b. Should the Upper House of Parliament be permitted to join the Lower House in selecting a Prime Minister?

Note: The second questions refers to a Senate (Upper House) with seats reserved for military commanders that would check the powers of elected lawmakers.

If the constitution, which would be Thailand’s 20th since the military abolished absolute monarchy in 1932, is approved, the military junta can claim legitimacy and plan the election. A “no” vote could delay a return to democracy as the junta would have to produce a new draft.

Thailand’s interim, military-backed governing body National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) says the referendum was a major step on their roadmap to a “fully-functioning democracy”. It claims the new constitution will enhance the ability of the next government to fight against corruption while ensuring the NCPO’s current programme of reforms will not be cut short. However, rights groups say the constitution extends too much power to the unelected NCPO, meaning their influence would remain well past their interim tenure.

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