Thailand King Maha Vajiralongkorn asks for changes to draft constitution

Bangkok: Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn has asserted his royal authority five weeks after acceding to the throne, asking for changes to be made to his kingdom's draft constitution.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army general who seized power in a 2014 coup, told reporters he will honour the king's request made in a letter to the military government.

"This issue has nothing to do with the rights and freedoms of the people," Mr Prayuth said.

"The request said there are three to four issues that need fixing to ensure his royal powers," he said.

Mr Prayuth did not elaborate on details of the request.

Traditionally under Thailand's constitutional monarchy where the kings reigns but does not rule, royal interventions in political affairs have been rare.

Reuters reported the changes include removing the need for the king to appoint a regent when he travels overseas.

"They involve only the chapter about the King," said Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.

The draft constitution was approved in a tightly controlled referendum last year, opening the way for the military to return the country to democratic rule.

The government had sent the document to the royal palace for endorsement in early November.

King Vajiralongkorn, 64, took the throne on December 2, succeeding his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died in October after a long illness.

The new king has been presiding over memorial and religious services and ceremonies for his father, a revered figure who reigned for 70 years.

Mr Prayuth said the king's request would not change a planned timetable for an election which has been set-back several times.

It would take up to three months to resubmit a new draft, he said.

The latest timing is for the election is late this year, although the government has refused to be pinned to a specific date.

*This report was written under restrictions of Thailand's lese-majeste laws.

The story Thailand King Maha Vajiralongkorn asks for changes to draft constitution first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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