Junta to replace elected local councillors with appointed bureaucrats

The latest order by the junta replaces elected local councillors with appointed government officials and gives the junta head the power to directly dismiss ‘corrupt’ councillors. This will allow the junta to take total control of local administrative organizations across the country within four years.  
 
On Thursday, 5 May 2016, the Royal Gazette published NCPO Order No. 22/2016 on the selection of local administration councillor.  The Order states that when any local council is dissolved, the Ministry of Interior shall have the authority to appoint government officials to local councils. 
 
The Order was issued under the authority of Article 44 of the Interim Charter and will be applied to all local administrative organizations, except in Bangkok.
 
The Order also appoints bureaucrats within the Ministry of Interior to the committees to select local councillors.  Committee members are drawn from various Ministry of Interior departments, such as the Department of Provincial Administration, the Department of Lands and the Community Development Department. 
 
According to the Order, when any local council is dissolved, the provincial governor shall nominate a list of people to be appointed as local councillors to the selection committee; two-thirds of local council members must be government officials. 
 
The Order also gives the junta head the power to directly dismiss corrupt local councillors.
 
Local administration in Thailand has been frozen since 21 July 2015 under the NCPO Announcement No. 85/2015, which stated that all electoral processes to appoint local administration officers across the country must stop because the country is not in a proper condition to hold elections.
 
This Order, combined with the earlier Announcement, means that the junta and the Ministry of Interior will take control of all the local administrative organizations within four years, the general term of office for local administrative organizations.