People take a look at Thailand Election Commission’s voting machines during an event to kick off the distribution of five million copies of a controversial military-written draft constitution ahead of the August 7 referendum in Bangkok. (Source: reuters.com)

Bangkok (VNA) – Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on August 5 that the general election will take place in 2017 as planned, no matter what the outcome of the August 7 referendum.

Speaking with the press at a military base in Nakhon Nayok province, the PM called on Thais to vote “yes” to the draft constitution.

He also stressed that no draft constitution pleases 100 percent of people.

The draft constitution introduced for the upcoming referendum consists of 105 pages with 279 articles. It is expected to be a solution for the decade-long political crisis in the country.

However, the draft has been criticized as lessening the role of elected officials while increasing the military’s influence. Therefore, the referendum is said to be a major test of the military government’s popularity.

The referendum will run from 8am to 4pm on August 7. Unofficial results will be announced at 9pm the same day while the official outcome will be released three days later.

If the official outcome of the referendum is approval, the constitution will be Thailand’s 20th since the country abolished absolute monarchy in 1932.-VNA