Voters in Thailand have voted in favour of reforms to the constitution which had been demanded by the military to prevent a return to the political strife which gripped the country before Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha took control in 2014. With 91% of votes counted, 61.4% are in favour of the reforms. But the election has been criticised by human rights groups because campaigning against the change was banned and anyone who tried to protest was jailed.
A second proposal on the ballot – that a senate including military commanders should be involved in appointing the next prime minister – also looks certain to be approved after being approved by 58% of voters so far. Altogether some 50 million people are eligible to vote in the referendum and the electoral commission are hoping for a turn out of 80%.
Around 200,000 police were deployed across the country to keep order but there were few reports of trouble – other than Pokemon Go! fans being warned to avoid entering polling stations while hunting for elusive characters.
"I suggest to people who play Pokemon Go that if rare Pokemon appear in a polling stations, I ask for your cooperation in not playing the game," said Supachai Somcharoen, chairman of the Election Commission, according to the Bangkok Post.
"We need to hold a general election in 2017 because that is a promise we made," said Prayuth. "There has been no charter that pleases people 100%."
Thailand's main political parties oppose the constitutional changes and critics have argued many of the electorate voted without being given sufficient information about what the changes mean. However, many Thais simply want stability after a decade of political strife which occasionally spilled over into violence.
In 2010, at least 80 protesters were killed in riots in Bangkok. There are also concerns about the country's future due to the failing health of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, 88.