Also present at the forum, held at Phuket Rajabhat University meeting hall, were Vice Governor Prajiad Aksornthammakul, Vice Governor Chokdee Amornwat and Election Commission Phuket office (PEC) Director Kittipong Thiengkunakrit, along with politicians, local officials, students and others.
“Today’s forum is for everyone to express their opinions and raise their concerns with the panel led by scholars from the Prince of Songkla and Rajabhat universities, who are here to answer your questions,” Gov Chamroen explained to those present at the forum.
“I believe that in order to vote in the referendum people have to base their opinions on knowledge and understanding of our constitution. We must understand that our country is moving forward with stability.
“As someone who loves democracy, I believe it is our responsibility to decide the fate of our country. It is up to you whether you agree or disagree with the questions asked in the referendum, so go to the voting booth on Sunday and exercise your right,” he said.
Mr Kittipong explained, “The PEC decided to hold the forum today to bring people together and discuss additional questions before they vote on Sunday.
“We want to give people, both those who agree and disagree with the proposals asked in the referendum, the opportunity to express their points of view and share their thoughts on this.
“We also want to encourage people to exercise their right to vote. Today, they will leave with the right information about our the constitution and the referendum, and they will have answers to any questions they may have about either,” Mr Kittipong added.
Gov Chamroen assured that all people involved in co-ordinating the referendum in Phuket were ready to play their part on Sunday.
“We are 100% ready for the referendum,” he said. “Officials in all three districts are prepared to handle the number of people who will turn out at the voting booths, and to provide maximum security in those areas and for the voters.
Gov Chamroen noted that the government was hoping for 80% voter turnout in the referendum.
“This expectation is quite high, but I think Phuket can do it,” he said.
After the forum, Gov Chamroen officiated in “launching” 17 sound trucks to head out to all 17 subdistricts across Phuket to encourage people to vote on Sunday.
The referendum on August 7 will ask two questions. The first will ask whether voters accept or reject the draft constitution (click here); the second question will ask voters whether they accept or reject allowing the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to select all 250 members of the Senate, who will be able to vote with elected MPs to choose the prime minister.
In line with Thai election law, the referendum will incur a nationwide ban on alcohol sales at shops, bars, restaurants and hotels on Sunday.
“Shops and restaurants are banned from selling alcohol from 6pm on August 6 (Saturday) to midnight on August 7 (Sunday),” Phuket Provincial Police Commander Col Teeraphol Thipjaroen told The Phuket News.
Hotels are included in the alcohol ban, Col Teeraphol confirmed.
“The only places allowed to sell alcohol during the prescribed hours are duty-free stores as the alcohol cannot be consumed until it has been taken out of the country,” Col Teeraphol said.