No foreign observers allowed to monitor Thai charter referendum

No foreign observers will be allowed to monitor the upcoming referendum on Thailand's new military-drafted constitution, the government said Wednesday.

No other country in the world would allow such a step to happen, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters late Tuesday.

Prayuth also said that there should be no public discussion ahead of the August 7 poll, because the referendum rules are not clear about what discussions are appropriate.

Also Wednesday, Election Commission member Somchai Srisuthiyakorn filed charges against members of a Facebook group that had criticized the draft constitution.

Somchai told reporters that the charges were filed because the group had used "aggressive language" and attempted to sway the public opinion against the draft charter.

"We want this case to serve as a lesson, when people talk about the constitution they must use logic and reason," he said.

The charges were filed under the Public Referendum Act, enacted on Friday, which forbids campaigning either for or against the draft constitution.

Those found in violation of the law could face up to 10 years in prison.

The junta unveiled the draft in March, which critics and politicians have blasted as undemocratic.

Among the most contentious parts are a new senate appointed by the military, and a contingency for a prime minister to be selected by the legislature from outside the ranks of elected officials.

The junta says that if the draft is approved in the referendum, elections could happen as early as September 2017.

But it has warned that if the charter is rejected, the next attempt would not include any public consultation.

Last update: Wed, 27/04/2016 - 11:00
Author: 

More from World

Jammeh looted state coffers before leaving Gambia, say officials

Former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh emptied the country’s state coffers before relinquishing power, a member of the...

Trump invites Netanyahu to meeting as new settlement action weighed

US President Donald Trump has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet him at the White House next...

Trump's senior staff sworn in at White House

About 30 officials who will serve as advisers and assistants to President Donald Trump were were sworn in Sunday at...

Dozens killed in clashes in south-west Yemen

ozens of people have been killed in clashes in war-torn Yemen's south-west, a source in the Yemeni military told dpa...

Iran hands down 5-year prison sentence to British woman for spying

A court in Tehran has sentenced a British woman, who has already been held in custody in Iran for 10 months, to five...