Thailand's military-backed legislature has rejected a draft of a new constitution, delaying a return to democracy following a coup last year.

The junta-picked drafters had hoped the charter would move the country past almost a decade of political conflicts, but it was met with strong opposition on almost all sides of political divide.

One of the most contentious provisions included a 23-member panel, with military members, that would be empowered to take over from the parliament and prime minister in times of "national crisis."

Almost all parties criticized it, and the draft risked being voted down in a referendum, further complicating a transition to electoral democracy.

The rejection sets back a tentative plan for a return to democracy, with the military retaining substantial powers until a new constitution is drafted.