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.
The second question is rather ambiguously worded. It essentially asks if voters accept or reject the idea that senators, who will be appointed by a selection committee under the junta, can vote with elected MPs to choose the prime minister.
Are these questions too complicated for voters? The election committee has been informing the public about the draft via 34-page booklets and an infographic mobile app. The complete draft has 105 pages.