On Sunday, August 7, Thai people will eventually get to vote on whether they accept or reject the controversial new draft constitution penned by a military-appointed committee.
In short, the two most controversial issues are that, according to the new draft, the Senate would become a fully appointed chamber and have veto power over the House of Representatives for a five-year period. The draft also allows for a non-elected “outsider” to become Prime Minister.
If a majority of Thai voters accept the latest draft charter the first post-coup national elections could eventually be held sometime 2017 and the country return to democracy (or at least Thai-style democracy.) On the other hand, if Thai voters reject the draft the kingdom’s political future remains uncertain.
What will likely concern foreign tourists and expats more: As usual not just on important Buddhist holidays but also on election days, an alcohol ban will be in force from 6 p.m. on Saturday, August 6, through midnight on Sunday, August 7.
The 30-hour booze ban will apply to bars, restaurant, supermarkets etc. yet most likely not to hotels, which are usually exempt from all alcohol bans.
Any bar and shop owners caught selling alcohol during this time possibly face a 10,000 Baht fine, temporary closures of their businesses and/or a jail sentence of up to six months.
While that’s business as usual on election days in Thailand and you will either have to stock up and drink at home or know where to go, what surprises us more is that Pattaya One report that an alcohol ban will also be enforced on Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday the following Friday, August 12.
As far as we remember, alcohol sales have never been outlawed on Queen Sirikit’s birthday (which is a national holiday and also doubles as Mother’s Day in Thailand), but well, never say never. In any case (pending official confirmation) we wouldn’t hold our breath and try to keep you updated as soon as we know more.