[JURIST] Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] announced his support on Tuesday for an interim constitution [PDF; in Thai] that would grant extensive authority to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) [MThai report, in Thai], the military junta currently in power. King Bhumibol announced [Reuters report] his endorsement during a routine royal news bulletin. The NCPO, which has controlled Thailand since a coup expelled former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra [BBC profile] in May, has declared that general elections should be held within the year. Until the elections the junta retains the right to intervene in political matters under the interim constitution.
Thailand has faced political instability in recent months. Shortly after the junta took control of the government in May, they began taking action [JURIST report] to limit dissent and protests. Former Prime Minister Shinawatra was forced to step down May 7 after being charged [JURIST reports] with abuse of power in February. Earlier this month the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) [official website; in Thai] issued a recommendation [JURIST report] to seek criminal charges against Shinawatra for failing to end the government’s costly rice subsidy program.