Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn on 6 April 2017 signed a military-backed Constitution of the country into a law. The signing is an essential step toward an election that would bring the country back to democratic rule.
The document was signed by the King in a ceremony at Bangkok.
Few provisions of the new Constitution
• The outgoing military government will have the right to appoint a senate that will have a say in appointing the prime minister.
• It allows the King to travel abroad without appointing a regent. The king has spent much of the past few years in Germany, where he has a son in school.
• It removes a clause of giving power to the constitutional court and other institutions in the event of an unforeseen crisis. Removing it underlined the King’s role.
An original draft of the constitution, viewed as the basis for returning to democracy, was approved in a referendum in August 2016. But the King has asked in January that changes be made to give him more power on appointing a regent in the event he isn't in the country.
The interim government has pledged to hold the election by the end of 2017. But the vote is likely to be put off to 2018 due to a delay caused by the revision work. The military-led interim government has ruled the country since it seized power in a 2014 coup.
• The Junta that seized the power after the 2014 Coup has promised to restore democracy in the nation. The 2014 coup was its 12th successful coup in some 80 years.
• The new constitution is the 20th constitution of the South-east Asian country since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.
The incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said that his government will hand over his duties to the new government after it is formed. He took the charge of the country after the 2014 Coup.
Besides, 6 April was a public holiday in Thailand as the day marks the establishment of the Chakri dynasty 235 years ago. The current king is also known as King Rama X in the dynasty.
According to critics, the new constitution of Thailand will give a powerful say over Thai politics to the generals for years, if not decades.
When: 6 April 2017