Governors go to town to promote referendum

July 31, 2007

promote referendum
Charter battle begins :More than 2,000 Pattani residents join a campaign yesterday to urge people to whip up enthusiasm for the poll.

The Constitution Drafting Assembly yesterday joined forces with governors across the country to distribute charter promotional materials and whip up enthusiasm for the August 19 referendum.

CDA chairman Noranit Sethabutr handed charter copies to Bangkok Governor Apirak Kosayodhin, who expressed his support for the campaign to encourage the city’s four million voters to vote. Apirak said he hoped that at least half of them would.

All the campaign launch ceremonies went off without incident, including in the restive southern border provinces.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, more than 10,000 representatives of 26 districts and six sub-districts took to the streets carrying green flags to encourage Korat natives to cast their vote in the plebiscite.

In Buri Ram, CDA member Karun Sai-ngam extolled the advances of the new constitution, which gives more power to citizens and their representatives to initiate political change. People would be more empowered to uproot corrupt politicians or officials, he said. Only 10,000 signatures would be needed to push for a constitution amendment, down from 50,000 in the 1997 constitution. Moreover, one-fifth of the lower house could move for a no-confidence debate against the prime minister, down from two-fifths of 500 MPs.

Narathiwat Governor Karan Supakitwilekkan urged constituents to pore over the constitution and express their opinion on it on August 19.

In Yala, apart from constitution copies, the CDA also distributed stickers with campaign messages to people who came to Provincial Hall.

Thousands of Pattani folk fanned out to encourage the vote. One group formed a dragon parade, others marched to the beat of Thai drums while Muslims joined in their own procession.

Mae Hong Son Governor Direk Konkleeb said he had instructed officials to campaign for people to vote. “It’s up to them whether they reject or accept the constitution,” he said.

In Ubon Ratchathani, CDA member Siwa Saengmani stressed that the supreme law of the land was strong on human-rights protection and checks and balances. “This constitution has the most complete monitoring mechanism. Ministers cannot use their power without being checked,” he said. The charter also guarantees that Thais enjoy 12 years of free education, he said.

Ubon Ratchathani Governor Suthee Makbun said the province aimed to encourage 80 per cent of its one million voters to make their voices heard.

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From The Nation

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