Asia

Thai king endorses new constitution, 20th since 1932

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, file photo, released by the Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand 's new King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun delivers a speech after accepting the throne at the Dusit Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's king signed the country's new constitution on Thursday, April 6, 2017, putting his stamp of approval on the nation's 20th charter since the absolute monarchy was abolished in 1932.  King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun endorsed the document in an elaborate ceremony at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall attended by senior members of the country's military government as well as foreign diplomats.  (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016, file photo, released by the Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand 's new King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun delivers a speech after accepting the throne at the Dusit Palace in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's king signed the country's new constitution on Thursday, April 6, 2017, putting his stamp of approval on the nation's 20th charter since the absolute monarchy was abolished in 1932. King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun endorsed the document in an elaborate ceremony at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall attended by senior members of the country's military government as well as foreign diplomats. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand's King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, right, endorses a document in an elaborate ceremony next to Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, April 6, 2017. Thailand's king signed the country's new military-backed constitution on Thursday, approving a charter that could see the ruling junta allow fresh elections but limit the authority of the politicians who eventually take office.(Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)

    In this photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand's King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, right, endorses a document in an elaborate ceremony next to Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, April 6, 2017. Thailand's king signed the country's new military-backed constitution on Thursday, approving a charter that could see the ruling junta allow fresh elections but limit the authority of the politicians who eventually take office.(Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • In this photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand's King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, center, endorses a document in an elaborate ceremony at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, April 6, 2017. Thailand's king signed the country's new military-backed constitution on Thursday, approving a charter that could see the ruling junta allow fresh elections but limit the authority of the politicians who eventually take office. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)

    In this photo released by Bureau of the Royal Household, Thailand's King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, center, endorses a document in an elaborate ceremony at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall in Bangkok, Thailand, Thursday, April 6, 2017. Thailand's king signed the country's new military-backed constitution on Thursday, approving a charter that could see the ruling junta allow fresh elections but limit the authority of the politicians who eventually take office. (Bureau of the Royal Household via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Thailand's king has signed the country's new constitution, the 20th charter since the absolute monarchy was abolished in 1932.

King Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun endorsed the document Thursday in an elaborate ceremony at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall attended by senior members of the country's military government.

The military junta has said the promulgation of the constitution will clear the way for new elections no later than November 2018, though it has repeatedly delayed previous poll dates. Critics says the charter's provisions are undemocratic, handing power to the permanent bureaucracy and the military at the expense of elected politicians.

The military ousted an elected government in 2014, the country's second coup in eight years.