Media and civil org launches website to collect polls on new constitution

Media and civil society organisations launched a new website to allow people to have their say in the new constitutional draft while pointing out that the state agencies responsible in drafting the new charter has failed.

Prachatai and Thaipublica, alternative media agencies, iLaw, an internet platform promoting civil laws related to freedom of expression, and Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University, on Monday officially launched a new website titled ‘Prachamati’ (referendum).

The website was established under the cooperation of the four to gather public opinions on the new constitutional draft, which is now under the consideration of the junta’s National Reform Council (NRC).

Prachamati points out “after the 2014 coup d’état, ‘national reform’ has become a top agenda where in the public awareness and eagerness to participate in the drafting of the new constitution to initiate the reform is high. However, the 2014 Interim Charter [imposed after the coup] does not allow people channel to participate directly.”

The website put controversial contents of the new charter draft in spotlight and allow people to fill in the blank if they agree or disagree with certain stipulations of the draft.

The first question is do you agree or disagree that there must be a public referendum on the new constitutional draft.

Other questions include whether you are agree or disagree with civil duties, the establishment of the National Virtue Assembly, the source of the senators, and the fact that the Prime Minister does not need to be the members of the parliaments stated under the new charter draft.

According to Prachamati, the new constitutional draft will be considered by the NRC for the next 30 days before being sent back to the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC), who will be given 60 days to make adjustments on the draft in accordance to the NRC’s suggestions.

In recent weeks, many academics and civil organisation members urged the junta to hold a public referendum on the new charter draft before it will be enacted. The authorities, however, claimed that holding the referendum is not effective to survey public opinions, costly, and might delay the national election further.