Thai voters approve new draft constitution

A majority of Thai voters has approved a new draft constitution in Sunday’s referendum.

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The military-led interim government compiled the draft after carrying out a coup d’etat in 2014.

The referendum was held as part of the process of returning to civilian rule.

Vote counting started immediately after polling stations closed across the country at 4:00 PM, local time.

The election commission announced at 7:30 PM, local time, that with 94 percent of the ballots counted, about 61 percent of the people voted in favor of the draft constitution, with about 38 percent voting against it.

This means a general election will be held based on the new constitution as early as August next year.

Critics call the draft document undemocratic because it requires all senators to be appointed by a military-backed council during the first 5 years of the transition period.

But the election results show that a majority of people were willing to tolerate continued military influence for the sake of stability.

They apparently wanted to advance the stalled domestic administration by restoring civilian rule.

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