Articles about voting issues in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Thailand: Deputy Prime Minister says Thailand will stick to 2019 date for general election | Reuters

There will be no delays to a general election planned in Thailand for 2019, the deputy prime minister said on Wednesday, amid the concerns of government critics and the opposition that it could be pushed back. The military government, which came to power after a 2014 coup, has promised to hold an election between February and May next year, following repeated delays on the grounds of constitutional and legislative steps needed ahead of a vote.

Full Article: Thailand will stick to 2019 date for general election, deputy PM says | Reuters.

Thailand: Thai laws set May 2019 deadline for new elections | Al Jazeera

Thailand’s military government enacted two new laws that set in motion a countdown leading to elections by May 2019 at the latest – five years after a coup d’etat. The laws, which received royal endorsement on Wednesday with their publication in the Royal Gazette, cover the selection of members of parliament and senators. The act covering lower-house legislators becomes effective in 90 days and mandates that elections be held within 150 days after that, effectively setting a legal deadline in May next year. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who heads the regime that seized power in the 2014 coup, said last month a general election was likely to be held on February 24 but left open the possibility of a later date.

Full Article: Thai laws set May 2019 deadline for new elections | News | Al Jazeera.

Thailand: Military junta may at last be ready to call an election | The Economist

September will sizzle with political intrigue in Thailand. The prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, has announced that his military government will shortly begin discussions with political parties about restoring democracy. Every year since his junta came to power in a coup in 2014, it has promised—and failed—to hold an election. This time it may actually keep its word. The tentative date is February 24th. Mr Prayuth has also said that he will declare in the coming month whether he intends to remain in politics, and if so which party he will join. This is in spite of the fact that he previously insisted that he would neither support any particular political tribe nor run for office himself.

Full Article: Thailand’s military junta may at last be ready to call an election - Dotting their i’s.

Thailand: Election could get delayed, again | The ASEAN Post

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha seems to have dropped another hint that the country’s long-awaited election will be delayed yet again. Despite previously promising that one will be held in February 2019, Prayut recently said that a further delay is possible. “We still confirm that the general election will be held in February 2019. Let’s talk about it later if we cannot hold such an election then, and now there isn’t any factor to make us hold the election sooner,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting in the southern province of Chumphon.

But scepticism and frustrations are running high in the Land of Smiles following delay after delay as to a promised date for the country’s general election. Shortly after the junta’s – The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) – military coup on 22 May, 2014, it promised an election the following year. Four years later and Thailand is still under military rule. This scepticism was related in the Suan Dusit Rajabhat University’s latest poll findings published in June. The poll, carried out between 5 to 9 June and involving a sample size of 1,130 people throughout the country, revealed that the hottest political topic among Thais is whether or not an election will ever take place, and if so, when.

Full Article: Thailand’s election could get delayed, again | The ASEAN Post.

Thailand: Election bill reaches king in step toward general election | Nikkei Asian Review

Thailand’s military junta has moved closer to keeping its long-held promise to hold a general election that could see power transferred back to civilian hands. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreangam said on Monday that a new bill has been submitted to King Maha Vajiralongkorn for his approval. The bill lays out rules for a lower house election, will take effect 90 days after  the king approves it and it is published in the Royal Gazette, the government’s public journal. An election must then follow within 150 days.

Full Article: Thai election bill reaches king in step toward general election - Nikkei Asian Review.

Thailand: Prime Minister calls for a little more time in office to prepare for vote | Reuters

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Tuesday he needed a little more time in office to prepare the country for a general election, just days after his deputy said a vote planned for this year could be delayed. Prayuth, installed as prime minister in August 2014 after leading a coup that ousted a civilian government, has delayed the date of a general election several times. Most recently, he said an election would take place in November. But last week Thailand’s parliamentary body voted to postpone enforcement of a new election law by 90 days, dragging out the time frame. At the time, the deputy prime minister said parliament’s decision could delay the election until 2019.

Full Article: Thai PM calls for a little more time in office to prepare for vote.

Thailand: Ousted party slams fresh election delay to 2019 | Borneo Bulletin

Thailand’s former ruling party yesterday slammed the junta’s latest postponement of elections until 2019, accusing the generals of buying time to consolidate support ahead of a return to voting. The junta has delayed several poll dates since toppling the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014 and instituting a ban on all political activity. Late Thursday, the military government’s rubber-stamp parliament voted to change an election law and pave the way for polls to be pushed back from the junta’s previously-stated timetable of November 2018. Elections will likely be delayed for three months and fall some time in 2019, deputy prime minister General Prawit Wongsuwon told reporters yesterday, without giving a clear date.

Full Article: Ousted Thai party slams fresh election delay to 2019 – Borneo Bulletin Online.

Thailand: A Serious Concern Over the First Use of E-Voting in Thailand | The Diplomat

After more than 15 years of development, if the new law permits, Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) will introduce an e-voting system for the 2017 general election. They claim the system will make voting more convenient for citizens, speed up the tallying allowing results to be known immediately after the polls close, and reduce the cost of public elections in the long term. Unfortunately, due to a budget insufficient to purchase all the machines simultaneously, they will be available in only 100 polling stations where voters can choose to vote either manually or electronically. However, the e-voting benefits will likely be undermined by a pervasive lack of public trust. The EC has primarily promoted e-voting on their website, which sports a voting machine simulator which people can try online. To cast a vote electronically, after a manual identification process, a voter can indicate their choice by pushing a button. A paper receipt is then automatically printed out, which the voter may examine and verify before depositing it in a ballot box. This type of machine is most recommended for building people’s faith in the e-voting. This is because the voter can confirm that his vote was recorded as they intended. Receipts from a random sample of polling station can also be manually counted to verify the results of an election and even serve as backups if there are problems with the machine.

Full Article: A Serious Concern Over the First Use of E-Voting in Thailand | The Diplomat.

Thailand: Junta chief says elections to be held in 2017 | Al Jazeera

Thailand will hold a general election in 2017, the country’s junta chief said on Tuesday, his first comments since voters backed a new military-crafted constitution in a referendum. Sunday’s vote in support of the charter was the first test of public opinion since the 2014 coup. Campaigning and open debate were curbed in the run-up to the poll, however. Thailand’s last general election was in 2011. “The election will be held late 2017 as planned,” Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who as army chief seized power two years ago, told reporters. Since the vote, the European Union and the United States – both key allies – have called on Prayut to hold elections swiftly and lift restrictions on civil liberties imposed since his takeover. Previous election dates promised by Prayut have slipped.

Full Article: Thailand to hold elections in 2017: junta chief - News from Al Jazeera.

Thailand: Vote recount may delay official referendum results | Bangkok Post

An election commissioner will propose a recount at a polling unit, a move which might delay the announcement of the official results on the charter referendum scheduled for Wednesday. Somchai Srisutthiyakorn said on Tuesday he would propose the Election Commission (EC) recount the votes from a poll unit in Phitsanulok’s Muang district. He based the decision on a public video clip showing poll officials turning their back on observers while counting marked ballots without showing each of them publicly. Mr Somchai believes the recording was from one of 15 poll units at Naresuan University.

Full Article: Vote recount may delay official referendum results | Bangkok Post: news.

Thailand: Voters approve a military-backed constitution, paving the way for a general election | Reuters

A democratically elected government will take power in Thailand at the earliest by December 2017, a senior Thai official said on Monday, after the country endorsed a military-backed constitution paving the way for a general election. Thais handed the junta of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha a convincing win in the referendum on Sunday, with preliminary results showing over 61 percent voted in favor. Full results are due on Wednesday. A desire to see greater political stability drove the yes vote, analysts said. Thailand has been rocked by more than a decade of political turmoil that has stunted growth, two military takeovers and several rounds of often deadly street protests. “We think there will be an election at the earliest in September or October 2017, and a new government by December 2017,” Chatchai Na Chiang Mai, spokesman for the Constitution Drafting Committee, told Reuters. Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam on Monday also said an election will take place in 2017, confirming the timeline Prayuth laid out ahead of the referendum.

Full Article: Thailand approves military constitution, seeking stability - Business Insider.

Thailand: Thai junta passes ballot box test with referendum win | Reuters

Thai voters approved a junta-backed constitution in a referendum on Sunday, preliminary results showed, an outcome that paves the way for an election next year but will also require future elected governments to rule on the military’s terms. Voters handed the junta led by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha a convincing win in its first major popularity test at the ballot box since it seized power in a 2014 coup. With 94 percent of the vote counted, early results from the Election Commission showed 61.4 percent of Thais had voted for the charter, while 37.9 percent rejected it. Full results are due on Wednesday. The junta says the constitution is designed to heal more than a decade of divisive politics in Thailand that has dented economic growth and left scores dead in civil unrest. But Thailand’s major political parties and critics of the government say the charter will enshrine the military’s political role for years to come.

Full Article: Thai junta passes ballot box test with referendum win | Reuters.

Thailand: Junta Seeks to Extend Its Power With Constitutional Referendum | The New York Times

Thailand’s military junta will hold a national referendum Sunday on a new constitution that it casts as an essential step toward restoring democracy. But the junta has blocked opponents from campaigning against the measure, banned election monitors and restricted news coverage of the referendum. And the proposed constitution, critics say, would weaken the role of elected officials and extend the military’s influence for years to come. The vote will be the first major test of the military’s standing with the public, as much a referendum on the legitimacy of military rule as on the draft constitution. But no matter the outcome, the junta will remain in control until it decides to hand power back to an elected government. For Thailand, which changes constitutions more often than the United States changes presidents, the proposed charter is not necessarily expected to endure. But it seeks to reduce the influence of any one politician or party, a measure that seems particularly directed at populist leaders who appeal to the poorer rural population of northern Thailand.

Full Article: Thailand Junta Seeks to Extend Its Power With Constitutional Referendum - The New York Times.

Thailand: Future Hinges on a Controversial Political Referendum | Time Magazine

Thais head to the polls next week to vote in a referendum designed to breathe life into what has become a stagnant democratic process. An affirmative vote on Aug. 7 will see Thailand adopt a new constitution — its twentieth since 1932. Junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seized power in 2014, has promised general elections next year — but not before a fresh constitution is adopted. But that next step is by no means a fait accompli for, once again, Thailand is polarized as many fear that Prayuth and his cadres are getting a little too comfortable in the government’s shoes. While there are undoubtedly some who approve of the substance of the draft charter, which was painstakingly drawn up by a military-appointed committee, millions of disillusioned Thai citizens just want to see the wheels of democracy moving again.

Full Article: Thailand’s Future Hinges on a Controversial Political Referendum | TIME.

Thailand: Military marches to get out the vote and keep control | Financial Times

Thai army cadets march in formation west of Bangkok with one goal: to win the people’s hearts and minds ahead of next month’s referendum on a new constitution. Fresh-faced student recruits, local government officials and schoolchildren thrust leaflets into the hands of shopkeepers, restaurant owners and passers-by — and urge them to vote on August 7 as a national service. “We want everyone to do this referendum,” says Chinnapat Laohachaibun, a 16-year-old green-uniformed cadet flanked by a banner showing the monkey-god Hanuman casting his vote. “If everybody does, our country can go forward.” Propaganda blitzes like these are taking place across the nation as the generals, who have cracked down on dissent since their May 2014 coup, seek to consolidate power along with their allies in the bureaucratic elite. At the heart of the plebiscite lies a paradox: the public is being pressed to turn out yet new laws threaten them with 10 years in jail should they debate the subject on which they are voting.

Full Article: Thai military marches to get out the vote and keep control  -

Thailand: Monkeys go ape over voter list, rip papers to shreds in polling station | Asian Correspondent

A troop of 100 monkeys kicked up a storm in Thailand on Sunday, ravaging a voter list for the upcoming constitution referendum at a temple in the northern province of Phichit. Local media reported that about 100 pig-tailed macaques stormed the open hall of Wat Hat Mun Krabue temple, a designated voting station for the upcoming referendum on Aug 7. According to the Bangkok Post, investigators were dispatched to the scene upon receiving a report on the incident. After reaching the temple, Pol Lt Col Banchob Uthayo, one of the investigators sent from the Tambon Yanyao police station, found five out of 15 voter list pages ripped apart. The macaques also tore up seven pages of guidelines on voting which were also pinned on a notice board.

Full Article: Thailand: Macaques go ape over voter list, rip papers to shreds in polling station - Asian Correspondent.

Thailand: The Trouble With Thailand’s Upcoming Referendum | The Diplomat

Less than one month before Thailand’s highly anticipated August 7 constitutional referendum, a widening clampdown on “vote no” activities has galvanized further dissent and upped the risk of post-poll instability. Hard curbs on free expression, imposed in a draconian Referendum Act that carries potential 10-year prison penalties for misrepresenting the draft constitution, criticizing its content, or disrupting the vote, have simultaneously raised doubts about the credibility and integrity of the military-steered democratic process. If passed, the constitution will bestow the military broad powers over future elected governments, including fast-track means to remove elected politicians deemed as corrupt or wayward. The country’s top two sidelined political parties, the Democrats and Peua Thai, have both condemned provisions in the draft, including articles that would hamstring their ability to implement policies that run counter to coup-installed Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s 20-year economic development plan.

Full Article: The Trouble With Thailand’s Upcoming Referendum | The Diplomat.

Thailand: Regime blames opponents for pre-referendum disorder | Bangkok Post

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has blamed opponents of the government for stepping up disorder ahead of the draft charter referendum following the destruction of a copy of eligible voters’ lists in the North over the weekend. NCPO spokesman Piyapong Klinpan said that the destruction of the lists put up on a notice board was unprecedented. It was not an act of sabotage between conflicting political parties or persons but an act against the government who was inviting people to cast their votes in the Aug 7 charter referendum. “It is believed that it was an act of those with different stances from the government’s,” Col Piyapong said.

Full Article: Regime blames opponents for pre-referendum disorder | Bangkok Post: news.

Thailand: What you need to know about Thailand’s controversial constitution referendum | Asian Correspondent

Just a few weeks from now, on August 7, Thailand will hold a referendum on the latest draft constitution for the coup-ridden nation – one that has scrapped 19 constitutions since 1932. Counting down to the big day, authorities under the junta’s rule have arrested 16 activists campaigning against the draft constitution, and a number of international organizations have denounced the referendum for its undemocratic process. As Thais prepare to cast their votes, here is what you need to know about the referendum that isn’t quite a referendum. The ballot has two questions. The first asks if the voter accepts or rejects the draft constitution, which was penned by a committee appointed by the junta which abolished the old constitution after staging a coup on May 22, 2014.

Full Article: What you need to know about Thailand's controversial constitution referendum - Asian Correspondent.

Thailand: Prime Minister bans discussion of Thailand draft constitution ahead of referendum | Washington Times

Thailand’s new constitution was supposed to bring at least the appearance of legitimacy and normalcy for the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha. But with a month to go before a national referendum, critics and human rights activists say a law essentially banning any real discussion of the document is just the latest sign that little is likely to change two* years after Mr. Prayuth seized power in a military coup. Thailand’s Constitutional Court last week upheld a law that metes out 10 years in prison to anyone who voices an opinion — pro or con — about the government-backed draft constitution or campaigns for or against it before a nationwide Aug. 7 referendum. Monitoring of the vote by opposition groups, the United Nations or international rights activists is also blocked.

Full Article: Prayuth Chan-ocha bans discussion of Thailand draft constitution ahead of referendum - Washington Times.