Thailand's new draft charter makes auspiciously timed debut

Thailand's proposed new constitution was unveiled to the public at precisely 1:39 p.m., a time its drafters believe will bring good luck to a highly controversial charter that has been criticized as undemocratic.

The proposed constitution, unveiled Tuesday, will be put to a referendum in August, followed by elections that junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha has promised for 2017.

Critics say the charter reserves too much power for the military that toppled an elected government and suspended democracy with its May 2014 coup.

Politicians from both sides of Thailand's political divide have shown rare unity in opposing earlier versions of the draft, which contained proposals for an appointed Senate and a vaguely worded clause that suggests the prime minister does not need to be an elected official.