EC targeting 80% voter turnout for referendum.

national April 02, 2016 01:00

By THE NATION

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The Election Commission aims to draw a turnout of up to 80 per cent of eligible voters for the referendum on the draft constitution, tentatively scheduled for early August, an election commissioner said yesterday. Dhirawat Dhirarojvit said that the agenc



“Some people may say this [the 80 per cent figure] is daydreaming, but we are still determined to make the dream come true,” he said.
Dhirawat defended the EC’s request for a budget of Bt2.99 billion to organise the referendum, which the government described as “too high”. 
He said there was no irregularity involved, adding that the agency’s main focus was to get as many people as possible to vote regardless of their stance on the charter.
“This is unlike an election where political parties and their canvassers often campaign for their supporters to turn out,” Dhirawat said.
He urged people to campaign with reasonable arguments to back their standpoint and avoid provocative action. 
The election commissioner, who is in charge of political party affairs and the referendum, asked people to use good judgement before voting. 
“Their decision should be for the benefit of the country,” he said.
Meanwhile, Constitution Drafting Commission spokesman Norachit Singhaseni said the drafters were concerned that during campaigning parts of the draft might be explained inaccurately, which might result in misleading information or cause misunderstandings among voters.
He said drafters would submit details on the gist of the draft constitution to the EC by Friday to be published for eligible voters later this month.
Another CDC spokesman Udom Rathamarit said the commission’s meeting yesterday resolved to postpone its campaign on the draft constitution pending promulgation of the new referendum law. 
He said the CDC had a plan to explain details of the draft to representatives from state agencies and the private sector.
Former election commissioner Sodsri Satayathum said it was not against the law on referendums for politicians or political parties to criticise the content of the draft constitution.
She called on election commissioners to clearly tell the public what could be done and what was against the law in regard to the national vote on the draft charter.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said any individual or political party could campaign against the draft as long as they did not distort the provisions involved, convey inaccurate information, or hire people to vote the way they liked. 
He added, however, that details of this matter should be dependent on the new referendum law being debated by the National Legislative Assembly. 

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