Thailand’s electoral panel aims for January 10 for charter referendum

Bangkok, June 10 (IANS) If Thailand’s National Reform Council (NRC) endorses the draft constitution early in September, the Election Commission (EC) could hold a charter referendum on January 10, 2016, the EC said Wednesday.

Upon the NRC’s approval of the draft charter, the EC will have to publish 19 million copies of the draft and distribute them to the public by November 30, according to Supachai Somcharoen, chairman of the EC.

The referendum was estimated to cost around three billion baht ($89.1 million), Supachai said, stressing that the government must allocate the resources necessary for the EC to complete the process, according to Xinhua news agency.

The cabinet would draft the ballot, and it has not been decided what it would be like, the chairman said.

The Constitution Drafting Committee has already concluded the gathering of amendment proposals from the NRC and the cabinet.

Thailand is likely to have new general elections in September 2016 if the draft constitution survives the referendum. But the polls could be further postponed if another referendum, which was recently proposed by several NRC members, is held and allows Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha to extend his term in office.

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