Junta proposes political culture bill to solve political ills

Citing political ills, the Thai junta has ironically proposed a so-called political culture bill, saying it could foster a democratic political culture.    

On 7 March 2017, the junta-appointed Committee on National Reform, National Strategy, and Reconciliation announced 42 national reform priorities from Government House.

Among these 42 reform goals, a political culture bill was proposed as a solution to Thailand’s political ills.

The committee claimed that the bill will make politicians more accountable for their actions and foster the development of a democratic system of governance.   

The bill was proposed by the unelected, junta-appointed National Reform Council and the political subcommittee of the also unelected, junta-appointed National Reform Steering Assembly.

The idea behind the bill was mentioned earlier on 3 March by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, at a meeting on national reform.

In 2015, the junta-appointed Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) laid out plans to create a ‘National Virtue Assembly’, a supra-governmental body to determine the moral or ethical standards of public officials.

Under the plan, the Assembly could vote whether to initiate a moral inquisition of politicians and public officials suspected of ‘immoral’ behaviour.

The Assembly could also make recommendations and let parliament decide whether or not to impeach non-elected public officials, such as high-ranking civil servants. If impeached and found guilty by the court, politicians and civil servants would be barred from holding public office for five years.

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