Thai king's office seeks changes to draft constitution

BANGKOK: Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn's office has requested changes to a draft constitution regarding his royal powers, the prime minister said on Tuesday.

The constitution drafted by the military is central to the junta's plan to hold a general election to return Thailand to democratic rule. It was approved in a referendum last year and has been awaiting the king's endorsement.

"The request said there are three to four issues that need fixing to ensure his royal powers," Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting.

"This issue has nothing to do with the rights and freedoms of the people," he said, without giving further details.

The king came to the throne after the death of his father, ThaiKing Bhumibol Adulyadej, in October.

Thailand has a constitutional monarchy and public interventions in political affairs by a king are rare.

Prayuth said that the junta and the cabinet agreed to make the requested amendments.

The process will take up to three months because the government would first need to make changes to the current interim constitution before it can then change the draft constitution, he said.

The military has said elections would be held in late 2017. Prayuth said the timeline remains unchanged and there would be a new government in place next year.