There is clearly considerable concern within Thailand’s junta about the possibility of a healthy “no” vote in the upcoming referendum. Not content with legal harassment of “no” vote campaigners (including warnings to taxis sporting stickers declaring that “We take passengers but not the draft constitution”), the elite advocates of sufficiency democracy are now reverting to the tried and true bogeyman of vote buying. High profile media stories are laying the groundwork for the claim that “no” votes will be motivated not by politics but by the lure of cash. It is a tired and sorry claim that shows, once again, that sufficiency democracy campaigners have no respect for electoral decisions that don’t accord with elite instruction.
Of course the junta’s voting incentives (discounted/free public transport, a public holiday on 20 August and awards for local officials who secure a good turnout) are sincere attempts to ensure that the road to sufficiency democracy is a smooth one.