Thailand votes in a referendum on a new junta-backed constitution that would require future governments to rule on the military's terms. Natasha Howitt reports.
Across Thailand, votes are being cast in a referendum on a new constitution. The ruling military junta has drafted it, and promised a general election next year whatever the outcome. But if it is voted in, all future governments would have to rule on the military's terms. This is the first major popularity test for the military since seizing power in a 2014 coup. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has suppressed political activity during that time. Of the 50 million eligible voters, the Election Commission is targeting a turnout of 80 percent. Most voters remain undecided, but polls suggest a small lead in favour of the new charter. Critics say this is the military's attempt to consolidate power, after failing to banish former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's brand of populism from Thai politics since he was ousted in 2006.