THE DATE of the public referendum allowing voters to decide on the fate of the draft charter has been tentatively set for January 10, Election Commission (EC) chairman Supachai Somcharoen said yesterday.
He said other questions could also be posed to the public in the same referendum. The National Reform Council (NRC) and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) are responsible for identifying the questions to be voted on in the plebiscite and to seek Cabinet approval for the questions to be raised.
“The questions, however, must not be leading, difficult to understand or confusing. If we find any questions are not right, the EC would inform the Cabinet. I believe the Cabinet has sound judgement of what are suitable questions,’’ he said.
After the Cabinet approves the questions, the EC would go ahead with preparations for the plebiscite and educate the public on the procedures. The budget for the whole process is around Bt3 billion.
He said the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) may consider easing restrictions by relaxing some of its orders to facilitate the holding of a plebiscite.
The EC would propose amendments of any NCPO orders that could obstruct the agency from carrying out its duties.
He said he hoped the plebiscite would be carried out in a peaceful atmosphere and there would be no protests or efforts to mislead the public with ill intent in the run-up to the plebiscite.
He said the EC was ready to carry out the task. If the NRC approves the draft on September 6 as planned, the NRC has to forward the draft to the EC by September 16.
The EC would find printing houses that have the capacity and efficiency to print 19 million copies of the charter draft, or 80 per cent of total households, within 45 days – by November 15.
Every family is expected to receive a copy of the charter draft by November 30 with the plebiscite taking place on January 10.