Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha poses as he casts his vote in a referendum on a new constitution at a polling station in Bangkok, Thailand, Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
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A democratically elected government will take power in Thailand at the earliest by December 2017, a senior Thai official said Monday, after the country endorsed a military-backed constitution paving the way for a general election.Thais handed the junta of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha a convincing win in the referendum Sunday, with preliminary results showing over 61 percent voted in favor. Prior to the vote, Thailand's major political parties had criticized the draft constitution, saying it would constrict democracy, including one provision calling for an appointed Senate with seats reserved for military commanders.The Puea Thai Party, which carried his sister Yingluck to power in a 2011 election, was removed from office in the 2014 coup.The results show Thailand remains divided, said Sunai at Human Rights Watch.
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