Monday, August 20, 2007

Thailand Approves a New Charter

Bangkok Reporting

This post is the latest in a series from our Bangkok correspondent, H. Numan.

Dear Baron,

On Sunday the people were asked if they approve of the new charter for the constitution. A majority approved, nationwide. The parties against the charter admitted defeat. All went to the polling booths peacefully, even in the South.

As The Bangkok Post reported:

Little violence as deep South joins country in charter vote

Narathiwat — The atmosphere was largely peaceful for the referendum vote in the restive South yesterday, with one bomb, which failed to detonate properly, that slightly injured one soldier and a civilian in Rueso district. Separatist strife was minimal as residents in Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat, where separatist rebels are most active, turned out in large numbers to cast their ballots in the referendum on the draft constitution.

One bomb went off in Rueso district but the device failed to detonate properly.

The explosion took place late in the morning in tambon Latoh while soldiers stood guard in front of a house to encourage villagers to vote, police said.

The sound of the bomb, detonated by a mobile phone, alarmed people but there were no reports of any damage.
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Flight Sgt 1st Class Amornsak Polmak, 49, and house owner Ladda Suttani, 70, sustained slight injuries to their arms and legs and were released from hospital after minor treatment, doctors said.

No other insurgent activity was reported in Pattani and Yala, even in Yala’s Muang district, which has been declared a red zone due to the frequency of attacks.

The lull in the violence allowed the referendum to go ahead relatively smoothly, apart from the wet weather and the difficulty faced by some residents who said they knew little about what they were voting on.

Many villagers, who speak Yawi, the local Malay dialect, said they did not understand Thai so did know if the post-coup charter would benefit them or not.

“I don’t know whether the general election will turn out well or not, but I just want it to come quickly,” said Narathiwat resident Kong Petparn, 61.

Officials said a large number of residents went to balloting stations in the afternoon, which was not unusual in the South because they had to tap rubber in the morning.

Among the voters was Pol Maj-Gen Nopadol Phueksophon, whose left leg and left hand were blown off by a booby trap on April 18. He cast his vote in Songkhla province.

This was Bangkok reporting,
H. Numan.


Nobile di Treviso said...

41.37 per cent rejected the army-drafted constitution meaning that at the next general election the generals will have a hard time controlling the new administration.
Shows also that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is still a potent political force in Thailand in spite of the generals' attempts to discredit him.