THAILAND’S former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has remained magnanimous over the result of the draft charter referendum in the country which saw the majority vote in favor of constitutional amendments, providing the military more powers in the kingdom’s government.
Yingluck, who was ousted in a military coup in 2014, said she accepted the outcome of the vote although she had earlier called on the Thai public to go against the draft charter.
According to the Bangkok Post, Yingluck said she acknowledged the decision of the people, but insisted she be allowed to voice her opinions.
She said the outcome of the referendum was not surprising, as critics were barred from commenting on the draft charter. This made the circumstances different from other countries.
“I am sad, and regret that the country is stepping backward by accepting a constitution that may look democratic but really isn’t truly democratic,” she said, as quoted by the Associated Press.
“I’m not surprised with the results of the referendum because there was no opportunity to show our opinions or to criticize the content of the draft constitution to the full extent. It was one-sided and very different from any other referendum we’ve had, and from the rest of the world.”
On Sunday, Elections Commission (EC) officials said 61.45 percent voted in favor of the military government-backed constitution, while only 38.55 percent voted against after counting 94 percent of all ballots cast.
The country’s over 95,000 polling stations opened at 8am, and closed at 4pm. Though the EC predicted a turnout as high as 70 percent, this referendum reported a turnout even lower than the 2007 charter referendum, with only 55 percent out of 50.5 million eligible voters going to the polls compared to 2007’s 57.6 percent.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s current Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said the referendum is part of the government’s road map towards democratic political reforms.
He said the vote was necessary for a “bona fide democracy and thus for Thailand not to remain as a kleptocratic state.”
“The government will pay heed to the will of the people today and will do everything possible to address their concerns while providing a sustainable solution to our country’s political problems,” he said.
Additional reporting from Associated Press