'Yes' camp overwhelms charter referendum
published : 7 Aug 2016 at 20:45
updated: 8 Aug 2016 at 09:14
writer: Online Reporters
The draft constitution cruised to an easy win on Sunday in the long-awaited referendum as supporters overwhelmed opponents in what was not the tight contest that had been predicted.
The unofficial result from the Election Commission (EC) with 94% of the votes counted showed 15.56 million people backed the draft as opposed to 9.78 million who were against it.
The EC said the vote counting was frozen for Sunday. The counting will resume on Monday morning.
The 'Yes' camp accounted for 61.4% of the voter turn-out on Sunday, while the 'No' faction could garner only 38.6%.
But the support for the extra question on the ballot paper was slightly behind the draft, with 13.9 million people, or 58%, voting for it as against 10 million, or 42%, who rejected it.
The second question asked whether voters should allow the Senate to join the House of Representatives in selecting a prime minister.
Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, vice rector of Thammasat University, told Spring News TV that the result showed people are sending the message through their vote that they want to see corruption-free politics.
The statement by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ahead of the referendum that he would vote for the draft played a key role in building the momentum for voters, Mr Prinya added.
EC chairman Supachai Somcharoen said shortly after all polling units closed that the official result is expected on Wednesday, pending no complaints lodged to the election organising agency.
The EC expected 80% of 50.5 million eligible voters to come out to exercise their right in the referendum, but the turnout fell short as only 58% went to the polling stations.
EC member Somchai Srisutthiyakorn admitted the turnout target fell short because of "several factors".
The unofficial result was in line with polls carried out before the referendum which showed most voters would cast ballots to support the draft.
Constitutional Drafting Committee chairman Meechai Ruchuphan thanked supporters for accepting the draft and said all voices in the referendum would not be ignored when the drafting of organic laws begins.
Officials count votes at a polling station in Lak Si district on Sunday. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)