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Thailand’s Referendum Bill: Nikorn Chamnong Leads Path to Modernized Voting

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Excitement is brewing in the world of Thai politics as the government-sponsored referendum bill stands poised to pass its first test. Chartthaipattana Party list-MP, Nikorn Chamnong, at the helm of a sub-committee dedicated to the charter referendum, recently shared insights after a productive meeting with opposition whips.

According to Nikorn, the bill, which aims to revise the Referendum Act of 2021, is now prepped and primed for House deliberation. The Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister, Phumtham Wechayachai, who also heads a government panel focused on public votes necessary for charter amendments, will be the one to propose the bill to the House of Representatives today. Phumtham is set to passionately address the House, steering the conversation around the significance of the proposed revisions.

Ever since its inception, the bill has been thoughtfully sculpted with public input. Initially posted on the Permanent Secretary’s Office website of the PM’s Office, it underwent public scrutiny before being polished and sent to the cabinet for the green light. Nikorn expressed optimism that the House would pass the bill with minimal friction, along with three other referendum bills queued for House consideration, all built on the same foundational principles. These pending bills originate from the ruling Pheu Thai Party, the main opposition Move Forward Party (MFP), and the Bhumjaithai Party.

Pushing the collaborative spirit further, Pakornwut Udompipatsakul, the chief opposition whip, endorsed the expectation that the government-sponsored bill, along with the others, will be accepted into discussion and combined during the scrutiny stage. Here, a special House committee will delve deeply into the bill’s details, refining it further.

Interestingly, the government-sponsored bill is a synthesis of the key proposals from Pheu Thai and MFP bills, embodying a collaborative effort across party lines. Last month, Nikorn highlighted the bill’s goal to broaden the scope of the existing referendum law, making it more robust and inclusive of matters beyond just the constitution. An especially pivotal component of the bill is the proposal to scrap the “double majority” rule, a controversial mandate that demands over 50% of eligible voters’ participation and majority approval to validate a new charter. Critics argue that this rule sets an impractically high bar, effectively obstructing the seamless passage of crucial laws.

The revised bill also introduces innovative measures aimed at streamlining the referendum process. It proposes synchronizing referendums with national elections, a move that promises to curtail both time and expenses. Moreover, it champions the adoption of modern voting methods, such as postal and electronic voting, to accommodate a wider voter base.

Nikorn anticipates that the entire amendment process, including thorough vetting by the new Senate, should wrap up within six months. This streamlined timeline speaks to the urgency and importance placed on modernizing and making the referendum process more accessible and efficient.

As the excitement builds and the political machinery kicks into high gear, all eyes will be on the House of Representatives. Will they seize this moment to enact pivotal changes that reflect a more inclusive, streamlined, and modern approach to referendums? Time will tell, but one thing is certain: an exhilarating chapter in Thailand’s political saga is unfolding, and the nation awaits with bated breath.


  1. Joe June 17, 2024

    I think modernizing the voting process in Thailand is long overdue. Electronic and postal voting are essential in this digital age.

    • Sarah K. June 17, 2024

      But what about the security risks? Electronic voting can be vulnerable to hacking. Can Thailand really ensure it’s safe?

      • Joe June 17, 2024

        Good point, Sarah. Security is certainly a concern, but I believe with the right safeguards and regulations, it can be managed effectively.

      • AsiaObscura June 17, 2024

        Security risks exist in every system, but completely ignoring modern methods is not the answer. Thai authorities need to pull up their sleeves and work on robust security frameworks.

  2. Larry D June 17, 2024

    The double majority rule is just another way to keep the status quo. It’s a clever trick to make sure that real change never happens.

    • ConcernedCitizen32 June 17, 2024

      I disagree. The double majority rule ensures that any changes have the clear support of the people. Without it, small groups could push through their agenda.

      • Larry D June 17, 2024

        In theory, yes. But in practice, it just makes the bar too high. Real change requires a more practical approach.

    • Mai Linh June 17, 2024

      Yes, Larry! Only those in power benefit from the double majority rule. We need a realistic way to let democracy work.

  3. Chan95 June 17, 2024

    It’s encouraging to see different parties working together on this bill. Maybe this is a sign of a new political era in Thailand.

  4. ctlawyer June 17, 2024

    I am skeptical about the timeline. Six months to pass such a comprehensive bill seems overly optimistic.

    • Sunita R. June 17, 2024

      Agreed. Government processes always take longer than planned. This seems more like wishful thinking.

  5. Tara M June 17, 2024

    Synchronizing referendums with national elections is a brilliant idea. It will save time and money.

    • Krit June 17, 2024

      Absolutely! Plus, it will likely increase voter turnout. More people will be engaged in the process.

      • Wat G. June 17, 2024

        But don’t you think having too much to vote on will confuse the average voter? It’s already hard enough getting everyone to understand one issue.

    • Meena22 June 17, 2024

      True. It’s cost-effective and practical. Thailand should definitely consider this seriously.

  6. BKKNight June 17, 2024

    Has anyone noticed that this bill doesn’t address voter education? People need to understand the issues before voting.

    • Ploy June 17, 2024

      You’re right. Without proper education, all these modern methods won’t matter. Misinformation can still cause bad decisions.

      • BKKNight June 17, 2024

        Exactly. Modernization needs to go hand-in-hand with voter education efforts.

  7. Thitiwat June 17, 2024

    I’m glad to see the opposition and ruling parties finding common ground for once. This kind of cooperation should be encouraged.

  8. SeekTruth123 June 17, 2024

    Even if the bill passes, will it actually change anything? Politicians always promise progress but deliver very little.

    • Nam P June 18, 2024

      I can’t argue with that skepticism. Too often, these ‘historic’ changes turn out to be small tweaks.

  9. Lina Tran June 18, 2024

    Post and electronic voting could revolutionize our democracy. Imagine the inclusivity it could bring!

  10. Wisarut June 18, 2024

    It’s a complex issue. While modernization is needed, we must be cautious not to usher in vulnerabilities.

    • Vicky June 18, 2024

      Absolutely. Modernizing should not give way to new sets of problems. Each step needs thorough evaluation.

  11. NokNoi June 18, 2024

    The streamlined process is appealing, but will the new Senate actually expedite things or just add more bureaucracy?

  12. Ashley June 18, 2024

    Innovation in voting methods is exciting, but how will they reach rural areas where technology isn’t as accessible?

    • Yai June 18, 2024

      That’s a genuine concern. Many rural voters might completely miss out if the process isn’t inclusive.

      • Ashley June 18, 2024

        Yes, we need a balanced approach that doesn’t alienate any segment of the population.

  13. Kavi June 18, 2024

    Let’s not forget about accountability. How will the new methods ensure that every vote is counted and audited properly?

  14. Artist40 June 18, 2024

    Why fixate on just the voting process? The content of what’s being voted on needs focus too. Are these amendments even necessary?

    • Peera June 18, 2024

      You hit the nail on the head. We must scrutinize why specific changes are being proposed and who benefits from them.

  15. Vikram June 18, 2024

    If executed well, these reforms could set a precedent for other countries in the region. Thailand could lead by example.

  16. Dara C. June 18, 2024

    I’m optimistic. This is a needed change that will bring Thailand’s democratic processes into the 21st century.

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