April 6, 2017 / 8:25 AM / 4 months ago

Thai king signs constitution, paving way for election

BANGKOK, April 6 (Reuters) - Thailand's king signed a new constitution in a ceremony on Thursday, an essential step towards holding an election that the military government has promised to restore democracy after a 2014 coup.

In a nationwide broadcast, King Maha Vajiralongkorn was seen signing the constitution, giving it royal endorsement and setting in motion a process for Thailand's next general election, expected late next year.

The constitution is Thailand's 20th since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932 and critics of army rule say it will still give the generals a powerful say over Thai politics for years, if not decades.

The constitution is now due to be published in the Royal Gazette, after which it becomes law. (Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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