Thailand’s corruption rating worsens from lack of democracy

A global report has ranked Thailand’s perceived level of corruption at 101st out of 176 countries, due to its undemocratic political climate and pervasive corruption. 
 
Though the junta has set the elimination of corruption as a policy priority, Thailand’s ranking has slipped down Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2016 from joint 76th in 2015 to joint 101st. Its score also dropped from 38 out of 100, to 35.  
 
Last year, China was perceived as more corrupt than Thailand. In 2016 the positions are reversed.
 
The report states that the drop in Thailand’s ranking reflects reports of corruption and suppression of freedom of expression, especially during the constitutional referendum in August last year.
 
“Free debate on the constitution was impossible; campaigning in opposition was banned and dozens of people were detained. The military junta also prohibited monitoring of the referendum. There is a clear absence of independent oversight and rigorous debate,” read the report.
 
During the constitutional referendum last year, at least 113 people were prosecuted for opposing the junta regime and its constitution.
 
Though one of the explicit goals of the junta-backed draft constitution is to eliminate corruption, Transparency International argues the political structures set up by the draft constitution will undermine Thailand’s democratic values.
 
“Thailand's new constitution, while it places significant focus on addressing corruption, entrenches military power and unaccountable government, undermining eventual return to democratic civilian rule.”  
 
After the report was published, Sansern Poljieak, Secretary-General of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), told the media that he was rather surprised by the result as the NACC had predicted Thailand’s ranking would rise. Sansern attributes Thailand’s drop in the rankings to the report’s preoccupation with democracy. 
 
 
Thailand this year is in the same rank as Gabon, Niger, Peru, Philippines, Timor-Leste and Trinidad and Tobago

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