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The Collective
Sunday, August 19, 2007
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the BBC: Thai voters ‘approve new charter’

Thailand’s military coup leaders have won a referendum on a new constitution by a large margin, taking around 70% of Sunday’s vote, exit polls suggest.


This referendum was about a lot more than the 194-page constitution which few Thais are likely to have read, the BBC’s Jonathan Head reports from Bangkok - it was also a vote on the coup itself.

I know precious little about the internal politics of Thailand, so I can’t comment on the coup, the former Prime Minister (Thaksin) or the newly proposed constitution in any specific way. I can say, however, that as the last quoted paragraph above notes, the referendum is as much, if not more, about the coup than it is about the new charter. This is yet another example of a classic post-coup move by a military government: some sort of popular vote that can be used to validate the coup in the first place. It is a clear attempt to put a democratic patina on a fundamentally undemocratic act (i.e, a military seizure of power and the tearing up of the existing constitution).

Just another entry in the Dictatorship for Dummies file.

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Filed under: Elections, Asia | |

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