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2016 Thai constitutional referendum

A constitutional referendum was held in Thailand on 7 August 2016. The charter offered only semi-democracy and was seen to tighten military rule in Thailand.[2] However, it was approved by 61% of voters with a 59% turnout. A second proposal for the next Prime Minister to be jointly elected by Senators and MPs was also approved. However, the opposition groups to the constitution were barred from formally campaigning against it by the military government, while the military government actively campaigned for its adoption.

Thai constitutional referendum, 2016
1) Do you approve or disapprove of the draft constitution?
2) Do you approve that for contributing continuity of the country reform according to the national strategic plan, it should be stipulated in the Transitory Provisions of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand that for the duration of 5 years from the first sitting of the National Assembly under this constitution; the joint sitting of the two chambers of the National Assembly shall convene to consider approving a person to be appointed as the Prime Minister?[1]
Thai constitutional referendum, 2016 result by provinces (Charter).png
Provinces of Thailand colored according to referendum results (Charter)
LocationThailand
Date7 August 2016
Draft constitution
For
61.35%
Against
38.65%
Election of the Prime Minister
For
58.07%
Against
41.93%
Voter turnout: 59.40%

Contents

Constitutional draftingEdit

The primary difference between the 2016 constitution and the 2007 document was that the Senate would become a fully appointed chamber rather than a partially elected one during the 5 year "transitional period" stipulated in the charter. This was seen as an effort by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to retain influence once it has left office, as it will have the right to appoint the 250 members.[3] The Senate would also be granted veto power over the House of Representatives on amending the constitution, and a Prime Minister will be allowed to be appointed from outside either house.

ConductEdit

The NCPO banned criticism of the draft constitution and prohibited monitoring of the referendum. Activists against the document were arrested, detained, and prosecuted in military courts,[4] whilst voters who expressed their intention to vote against the draft were also arrested and prosecuted by the military regime.[5]

350,000 canvassers were scheduled to be trained by the Constitutional Drafting Committee to campaign for the constitution, approximately four per village.[6]

ResultsEdit

 
Constitutional referendum, 2016 result by region.
  No
  Yes

Turnout for the vote was at 59%. The vote was rejected in the pro-Thaksin Isan province and even more firmly in the three Muslim majority southern provinces.[7] The ‘Yes’ camp accounted for 61.4 per cent of the voter turn-out, while the ‘No’ faction could garner only 38.6 per cent, with 94 per cent of the votes counted on the day after.[8]

BBC reported that there are many cited reasons for the result, including repression on campaigning and criticizing the charter with only few people actually saw a copy. The drafters argued that it will address political corruption and help reform the country. Some trusted the military junta. Many voters were tired of endless political crisis and saw the charter as a way back to normality.[2]

Question For Against Invalid/
blank
Total Registered
voters
Turnout
Votes % Votes %
Draft constitution 16,820,402 61.35 10,598,037 38.65 2,322,238 29,740,677 50,071,589 59.40
Election of the Prime Minister 15,132,050 58.07 10,926,648 41.93 3,681,979
Source: Bangkok Post

By provinceEdit

Province Draft Constitution Election of the Prime Minister Invalid/
blank
Total votes Registered
voters
Turnout
For Against For Against
Votes % Votes % Votes % Votes %
Ang Thong 70,958 58.84 49,641 41.16 63,378 55.74 50,328 44.26 4,914 131,503 225,231 58.39
Ayutthaya 216,278 60.57 140,804 39.43 195,627 57.40 145,178 42.60 14,380 387,429 632,905 61.22
Bangkok 1,585,533 69.22 705,195 30.78 1,482,723 65.57 778,724 34.43 36,362 2,370,477 4,450,224 53.27
Chai Nat 93,967 64.05 52,738 35.95 82,999 60.55 54,078 39.45 6,372 161,692 265,183 60.97
Chachoengsao 204,136 68.79 92,616 31.21 185,922 65.85 96,441 34.15 10,494 321,981 540,441 59.58
Chanthaburi 176,029 74.74 59,485 25.26 161,171 71.42 64,492 28.58 7,918 253,531 412,681 61.44
Chonburi 430,361 76.45 132,554 23.55 401,957 73.46 145,215 26.54 14,888 595,684 1,094,654 54.42
Kanchanaburi 226,825 68.71 103,288 31.29 203,496 64.98 109,683 35.02 13,171 360,497 617,725 58.36
Lopburi 205,619 64.22 114,528 35.78 183,274 61.24 116,014 38.76 13,533 350,872 593,479 59.12
Rayong 221,196 78.68 59,932 21.32 203,825 75.10 67,584 24.90 7,569 298,788 515,669 57.94
Ratchaburi 291,475 75.38 95,214 24.62 264,298 71.97 102,912 28.03 15,335 419,344 663,872 63.17
Nakhon Nayok 76,566 70.63 31,839 29.37 68,835 67.42 33,271 32.58 4,179 118,267 203,240 58.19
Nakhon Pathom 271,394 68.64 124,018 31.36 248,400 65.40 131,410 34.60 13,869 425,499 704,734 60.37
Nonthaburi 343,771 67.37 166,490 32.63 318,607 63.80 180,797 36.20 10,629 532,690 946,384 56.29
Pathum Thani 278,265 62.93 163,918 37.07 256,930 59.61 174,086 40.39 11,518 467,712 845,403 55.32
Prachuap Khiri Khan 186,361 82.93 38,355 17.07 174,575 80.18 43,141 19.82 6,877 239,154 403,306 59.30
Prachinburi 148,567 69.01 66,701 30.99 133,652 65.72 69,701 34.28 7,140 232,939 371,221 62.75
Sa Kaeo 156,955 71.16 63,617 28.84 140,689 67.69 67,155 32.31 7,289 239,070 416,866 57.35
Saraburi 193,686 63.27 94,224 36.73 176,085 64.42 97,241 35.58 12,012 314,015 490,059 64.08
Samut Prakan 318,571 65.50 167,798 34.50 294,355 62.15 179,280 37.85 12,353 513,725 987,597 52.02
Samut Sakhon 152,465 72.05 59,159 27.95 140,901 68.83 63,806 31.17 7,031 226,285 405,571 55.79
Samut Songkhram 62,948 77.40 18,385 22.60 57,810 74.10 20,210 25.90 3,277 88,744 156,066 56.86
Sing Buri 56,446 58.62 39,840 41.38 50,510 55.59 40,359 44.41 12,012 314,015 490,059 64.08
Suphan Buri 223,114 60.81 143,798 39.19 198,547 57.47 146,937 42.53 14,294 400,013 668,904 59.80
Trat 72,469 79.41 18,790 20.59 66,245 75.73 21,229 24.27 3,019 98,585 169,004 58.33
Central Region 6,551,370 69.43 2,883,907 30.57 6,017,608 66.09 3,087,165 33.91 274,800 10,050,982 17,580,470 57.17
Chumphon 208,068 90.04 23,004 9.96 196,293 87.51 28,023 12.49 5,347 244,052 388,203 62.87
Krabi 161,520 83.99 30,787 16.01 5,086 205,052 330,771 61.99 5,086 205,052 330,771 61.99
Nakhon Sri Thammarat 559,689 88.05 75,927 11.95 526,123 85.93 86,158 14.07 17,192 677,488 1,181,793 57.33
Narathiwat 109,348 36.04 194,020 63.96 103,969 35.38 189,858 64.62 24,324 342,255 517,803 66.10
Pattani 89,952 35.02 166,900 64.98 85,976 34.33 164,449 65.67 21,654 291,370 468,173 62.24
Phang Nga 97,952 84.23 18,344 15.77 91,886 81.43 20,952 18.57 3,280 123,981 197,709 62.71
Phatthalung 213,900 84.55 39,087 15.45 199,195 81.38 45,591 18.62 5,794 269,040 404,111 66.58
Phuket 125,643 88.03 17,081 11.97 118,969 85.59 20,022 14.41 3,181 150,326 274,407 54.78
Ranong 64,234 87.10 9,512 12.90 59,358 84.19 11,145 15.81 2,242 78,856 131,375 60.02
Satun 91,835 70.20 38,986 29.80 84,237 67.17 41,174 32.83 4,472 141,735 224,010 63.27
Songkhla 506,752 82.26 109,283 17.74 475,959 80.26 117,052 19.74 17,209 656,640 1,038,904 63.21
Surat Thani 377,628 87.29 54,980 12.71 352,558 84.22 66,048 15.78 10,593 457,921 782,820 58.50
Trang 250,644 86.19 40,170 13.81 233,949 83.54 46,080 16.46 7,351 310,797 481,819 64.50
Yala 81,759 39.93 122,988 60.07 77,963 39.23 120,792 60.77 15,025 229,888 351,135 65.47
Southern Region 2,938,924 75.75 941,049 24.25 2,758,160 73.54 992,585 26.46 142,750 4,179,401 6,773,033 61.71
Chiang Mai 390,046 45.92 459,399 54.08 340,577 42.63 458,384 57.37 38,165 933,449 1,275,798 73.17
Chiang Rai 249,684 45.02 304,976 54.98 211,333 41.08 303,066 58.92 25,524 618,734 914,756 67.64
Lampang 193,758 51.72 180,863 48.28 167,969 48.53 178,128 51.47 17,663 417,567 624,436 66.87
Lamphun 109,495 48.08 118,258 51.92 94,067 44.87 115,555 55.13 11,133 254,511 332,822 76.47
Phrae 102,745 46.21 119,594 53.79 87,944 42.71 117,973 57.29 8,027 244,567 374,771 65.26
Nan 122,142 52.83 109,057 47.17 104,028 48.32 111,282 51.68 9,137 255,344 385,641 66.21
Mae Hong Son 69,439 64.18 38,757 35.82 59,696 59.32 40,939 40.68 5,105 121,282 163,096 74.36
Tak 160,674 72.69 60,377 27.31 142,085 69.37 62,732 30.63 3,019 98,585 169,004 58.33
Uttaradit 124,356 60.27 81,982 39.73 108,946 56.65 83,360 43.35 7,051 225,105 367,752 61.21
Phitsanulok 265,136 68.96 119,348 31.04 238,207 65.02 128,156 34.98 12,731 415,539 681,358 60.99
Kamphaeng Phet 217,926 71.84 85,354 28.14 194,400 68.24 90,465 31.76 12,662 334,102 508,758 65.67
Nakhon Sawan 289,393 67.01 142,471 32.99 258,564 63.68 147,482 36.32 16,970 475,347 836,014 56.86
Sukhothai 188,608 70.25 79,598 29.75 166,417 66.32 84,515 33.68 9,719 294,051 457,837 64.23
Phetchabun 286,163 69.20 127,342 30.80 252,771 65.70 131,981 34.30 16,819 457,013 740,443 61.72
Phichit 141,330 65.33 75,000 34.67 124,335 61.61 77,490 38.39 7,910 236,738 429,912 55.07
Uthai Thani 106,884 74.74 36,123 25.26 96,096 71.32 38,648 28.68 4,954 155,472 256,685 60.57
Phayao 109,408 47.15 122,649 52.85 93,651 43.63 121,001 56.37 9,095 258,004 394,595 65.38
Northern Region 3,020,303 57.58 2,225,285 42.42 2,644,990 54.01 2,252,509 45.99 218,944 5,788,045 8,840,048 65.48
Amnat Charoen 87,314 54.69 72,346 45.31 74,976 49.88 75,344 50.12 4,811 174,416 291,118 59.91
Buriram 365,041 60.22 241,101 39.78 317,347 56.29 246,433 43.71 22,846 670,300 1,199,590 55.88
Chaiyaphum 204,055 45.63 243,144 54.37 174,994 42.29 238,826 57.71 16.867 497,591 885,070 56.22
Loei 158,394 54.19 133,890 45.81 135,059 49.91 135,520 50.09 11,185 324,607 492,944 65.85
Kalasin 180,465 45.03 220,317 54.97 152,047 40.81 220,501 59.19 12,693 441,164 771,851 57.16
Khon Kaen 333,807 44.91 409,453 55.09 291,657 41.74 407,011 58.26 25,062 815,191 1,419,106 57.44
Maha Sarakham 172,392 42.41 234,140 57.59 147,298 38.42 236,107 61.58 12,706 443,811 764,982 58.02
Mukdahan 56,544 37.99 92,282 62.01 47,840 34.63 90,315 65.37 5,257 165,547 265,088 62.45
Nakhon Ratchasima 730,985 64.39 404,261 35.61 649,052 60.78 418,789 39.22 17,192 677,488 1,181,793 57.33
Nakhon Phanom 139,497 47.23 155,830 52.77 114,920 41.96 158,949 58.04 8,326 317,047 542,910 58.40
Nong Bua Lamphu 77,167 39.75 116,958 60.25 66,883 36.70 115,350 63.30 6,202 214,347 390,371 54.91
Nong Khai 86,557 44.29 108,874 55.71 74,924 40.96 108,005 59.04 6,980 215,259 395,902 54.37
Roi Et 186,931 35.98 332,587 64.02 157,587 32.12 333,023 67.88 15,360 564,729 1,035,036 54.56
Sakhon Nakhon 217,372 47.89 236,497 52.11 183,391 42.74 245,699 57.26 12,574 495,262 869,581 56.95
Sisaket 244,499 42.46 331,314 57.54 205,001 38.22 331,359 61.78 23,297 640,666 1,116,545 57.38
Surin 259,668 49.22 267,917 50.78 225,364 45.09 274,411 54.91 20,197 580,293 1,055,964 54.95
Ubon Ratchathani 413,901 54.77 341,848 45.23 353,493 49.83 355,885 50.17 24,980 832,295 1,399,518 59.47
Udon Thani 248,092 40.66 362,023 59.34 215,084 37.51 358,338 62.49 20,414 669,943 1,202,878 55.70
Yasothon 81,272 36.35 142,284 63.65 69,329 32.58 143,454 67.42 6,130 243,093 426,224 57.03
North Eastern Region 4,309,805 48.66 4,547,776 51.34 3,711,292 44.68 4,594,389 55.32 299,715 9,722,249 16,878,002 57.60
Source: ECT

AftermathEdit

The next task of the Constitutional Drafting Committee was to draw up organic laws governing the new political system. The military continued to stay in power past the royal succession, following the death of king Bhumibol. The draft constitution would under go six changes at the request of the new king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, which expanded his powers, before being ratified on 6 April 2017.[9]

Political parties were expected to dissolve themselves and reform, possibly ending up as smaller parties, as the new voting system made it harder for larger parties to win an overall majority and more likely for a coalition government to be formed.[2]

Elections were eventually held in 2019, with the Phalang Pracharat Party, a pro-junta party, forming a coalition government. Prayut Chan-o-cha, prime minister and leader of the military government, was elected prime minister of the new government, with his nomination being possible because the new constitution allowed non-members of parliament to become prime minister.[10]

The new government will be subject to supervision by the unelected Senate as well as other constitutional bodies. Impeachment of politicians has also become easier. Future governments are also required to adhere to the 20-year plan by the military.[2]

The military is expected to remain a significant actor in Thai politics for many years.[2]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Referendum Booklet: A Summary of Standing Provisions
  2. ^ a b c d e "Thai referendum: Why Thais backed a military-backed constitution". BBC. 9 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Thailand unveils new constitution draft to public". Deutsche Welle. 23 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Thailand: Junta Bans Referendum Monitoring". Human Rights Watch. New York: Human Rights Watch. 2016-06-21. Retrieved 2016-07-05.
  5. ^ "ทนายดังมอบตัวสู้คดีทำผิด พ.ร.บ. ออกเสียงประชามติ". Matichon Online (in Thai). Bangkok: มติชน [th]. 2016-07-17. Retrieved 2016-07-17.
  6. ^ Chanwanpen, Kasamakorn (25 April 2016). "Scandals may hurt referendum". The Nation. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  7. ^ Thailand votes for a new constitution The Economist, 8 August 2016
  8. ^ Maierbrugger, Arno (2016-08-08). "After referendum, Thailand's economic direction unclear | Investvine". Retrieved 2016-08-09.
  9. ^ Thai King Signs Military-Backed Constitution, National Public Radio, April 6, 2017
  10. ^ Kaewjinda, Kaweewit; Peck, Grant (18 July 2019). "With New Cabinet, Thailand Replaces Junta with Army Allies". Khaosod English. Retrieved 4 August 2019.