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

More from World

Iran summons British ambassador over prime minister's remarks

The Iranian Foreign Ministry summoned the British ambassador concerning remarks made earlier this week by Prime...

Gambia's new president says outgoing president cannot reject polls

Gambia's newly elected president Adama Barrow said on Saturday outgoing president Yahya Jammeh has no right to...

Monitor: Islamic State enters Syria's Palmyra months after losing it

Islamic State fighters have entered Palmyra in central Syria for the first time since the extremist militia lost the...

Israeli coalition chief: I prefer if Arab citizens do not vote

The head of the Israeli governing coalition sparked concern Saturday over comments that he would prefer if Arab...

Diplomats call for ceasefire in Aleppo at Paris meet

Foreign ministry officials from the West and the Middle East meeting in Paris Saturday for talks on Syria have...