Thai deputy PM sets July 31 vote on charter, 2017 election

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The deputy prime minister of Thailand's military government says a referendum on a new constitution will be held on July 31 and will be followed by a general election before the end of next year, whether or not the new charter is approved.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon told reporters Thursday that the government has a plan ready for the election if the charter is rejected, though he did not give details. His remarks echoed recent comments by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and other key officials, who have come under pressure to commit to a date after an initial draft constitution was rejected last year by the interim legislature and the promised election set back.

A second constitutional draft was recently unveiled and has drawn criticism for being undemocratic.