Thai constitutional referendum, 2007

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A referendum on the new constitution was held in Thailand on 19 August 2007.[1] Had the draft been rejected, the military government would have had the freedom to choose any previous constitution to adapt and promulgate instead.[2] The turnout was around 60%.[3]

Proposed changes[edit]

Cover of draft distributed to all households

Major changes in the proposed constitution included the following:[4]

  • Making almost half of Senators appointed rather than elected.
  • Limiting the Prime Minister to 2 four-year terms.
  • Banning the Prime Minister from major holdings in private companies.
  • Making it easier to impeach the Prime Minister and other ministers.

The current military government announced that each household in the country would be sent a copy of the new constitution ahead of the referendum.[4] A poll from July had seen a majority of voters in favour.[5] However, in many cases "yes" votes were not real indicators of support for the new text but rather for quick elections, as the ruling Council for National Security (CNS) has stated that approval of the new constitution was a requirement for holding parliamentary elections later that year.[6]

Results[edit]

Regional distribution of approval and rejection
Choice Votes %
For 14,727,306 57.81
Against 10,747,441 42.19
Invalid/blank votes 504,207
Total 25,978,954 100
Registered voters/turnout 45,092,955 57.61
Source: Direct Democracy

Regional differences[edit]

There were considerable differences in the approval rates between the regions of Thailand. In six provinces of Southern Thailand (Chumphon, Trang, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla, Surat Thani, Ranong), the approval topped 90%. On the other hand, in 24 provinces in Northern and Northeastern Thailand there was a majority against the draft. In two provinces in the far Northeast (Nakhon Phanom, Roi Et), the rejection even topped 75%.

Literature[edit]

  • McCargo, Duncan (2008), "Thailand: State of Anxiety", Southeast Asian Affairs 2008 (Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies): 333–356, at pp. 337–339 

References[edit]

  1. ^ Panel passes final draft of new Thai constitution, paving way for referendum, elections Associated Press, 6 July 2007
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Thai voters 'approve new charter' BBC News, 19 August 2007
  4. ^ a b Thai draft constitution approved BBC News, 6 July 2007
  5. ^ Thais Would Approve New Constitution Angus Reid Global Monitor, 27 July 2007
  6. ^ McCargo (2008), Thailand, p. 338