The referendum in brief

The Economist has a short and sharp assessment of the military’s charter and the junta’s referendum:

NOSunday’s constitutional referendum offers a choice between continued military rule and a regressive constitution that entrenches it until 2022. A slender carrot is that approval will mean an election (army-sponsored, of course) in 2017. The vote, like the generals’ other claims to democratic legitimacy, is a sham. Criticism of the charter carries a 10-year jail term; 100-plus nay-sayers have been jailed. The generals have run a mass propaganda campaign involving 700,000 henchmen. The 40m-odd voters must put their thumbprints on ballot papers; the count will lack independent monitors. Despite the climate of fear, the main opposition parties are recommending a “no” vote. Even that would not end the junta’s reign. The generals have an ace in the hole: the seemingly imminent death of the king, an event that will let them freeze Thailand’s political system for years to come.

That seems reasonably accurate to us.

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