Accessibility links

Breaking News

Thai Coup Leader Vows Parliamentary Elections Next Year

FILE - Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha prepares before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nov. 21, 2015.

Thailand's prime minister says a general election will be held in 2017, even if a proposed constitution is rejected by voters in a referendum later this year.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, the former army chief who took power in a bloodless coup in 2014, made the pledge while speaking to reporters Tuesday in Bangkok.

The junta had previously pledged to hold elections only if a new charter was approved in a public referendum.

Thailand has been plagued by more than a decade of political turmoil and instability, due to bitter fighting between the military-backed royalist establishment and supporters of former populist prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The antagonism has led to two coups and bouts of violent, even deadly street protests.

The next constitution will be the 20th since the end of Thailand's absolute monarchy in 1932.