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.