Tue, Jul 05, 2016 - Page 6 News List

Thailand sets up security centers to monitor referendum

Reuters, BANGKOK

Thailand’s military government has set up security centers around the country ahead of a referendum next month on a new constitution, a spokesman for the government said yesterday.

The centers are the latest measure rolled out by the government as Thailand prepares to vote on a constitution that critics fear will entrench the military’s influence.

The draft of Thailand’s 20th constitution is to replace one scrapped after a 2014 coup by generals who promised stability.

The Aug. 7 referendum will be the first real rest of the junta’s popularity since it took power.

A “Center for Maintaining Peace and Order” has been set up in every one of Thailand’s 76 provinces, Spokesman for the Thai Prime Minister’s Office Major General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said, in order to ensure there is “no cheating, no lobbying and no persuading people to vote one way or another.”

Red shirt movement spokesman Thanawut Wichaidit accused the government of double standards.

“We weren’t able to set up our monitoring centers so why should the military government be allowed to set up their center?” Thanawut told reporters. “The military government is blindfolding the electorate and leading their hand to vote in the manner they want.”

Under the proposed charter, a junta-appointed senate with seats reserved for military commanders would check the powers of elected lawmakers for a five-year transitional period.

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