At least seven members of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly have failed to meet attendance requirements set by the Interim Constitution. Their seats are now threatened.
by iLaw, a non-profit organisation working on freedom of information, has revealed that at least seven junta-appointed members are in violation of a constitutional requirement that MPs attend at least one-third of voting sessions during any 90 day period.
One of the delinquent members is Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha, younger brother of Thailand’s junta head Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha.
According to Article 82 of the interim constitution, members who do not meet the attendance requirement will have their membership to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) terminated. The voting attendance requirement is stipulated in Section 9 (5).
iLaw surveyed a period of 180 days (two 90-day periods) during 2016 and found that at least seven members failed to meet the voting attendance requirement, seemingly grounds for expulsion. Other members may have violated the attendance requirement in periods not surveyed by iLaw.
iLaw found that the majority of members in violation of the constitution simultaneously held paid positions in public office. The monthly compensation for being an NLA member totals 113,500 baht.
The seven members are: Admiral Na Areenich, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy; Air Chief Marshal Johm Rungswang, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force; Admiral Panlop Tamisanon, former Chief of Staff of the Royal Thai Navy; Supant Mongkolsuthree, Honorary Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries; General Preecha Chan-o-cha, former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence; Somsak Chotrattanasiri, Director of the Bureau of the Budget; and Distat Hotrakitya, Secretary-General of the Council of State.
Gen Preecha attended the NLA only 6 days out of 400.
While members can submit a request to the President of the NLA for leave of absence without violating the attendance requirement, iLaw found that this process is shrouded in secrecy.
When iLaw attempted to contact the NLA to request information on whether the seven members had submitted requests for leave of absence, officials replied that they could not release this information due to the confidentiality of public officials. It assured iLaw that the members followed due process in requesting leave.