Update June 14: The assembly punted on making a decision until Friday.
BANGKOK — Junta-appointed lawmakers will decide Thursday whether future civilian leaders should face criminal prosecution for not following plans left in place by the military government for the next 20 years.
National Legislative Assembly member Wallop Tangkananuwat said Monday that there is a need to make sure future governments stick to the yet to be finalized National Strategic Plan – while allowing some room for some flexibility.
“Many plans have been drafted in this country, but they end up being discarded. We want to see some continuity,” Wallop said Monday. “The details should be adjustable, however. It needs to be softened down.”
Criminal liability for future cabinet members not following the plans – which would be construed as dereliction of duty – will also be considered. The punishment would be removal from office. According to the draft, the junta-appointed National Strategic Plan Committee and the junta-appointed senate could petition the Constitutional Court to remove politicians and agency heads if they do not implement the plan.
The proposed criminal liability will rely on Article 157 of the Criminal Code which stated officials who dishonestly perform its duty and causing damage or found guilty of dereliction of duty could face an imprisonment term of between one to 10 years or a fine of 2,000 baht to 20,000 baht.
As for the six national strategies, they are: national security; fostering national competitiveness; human resources development; social equity and reduction of disparity; the environment and state administration development.
Some have already expressing incredulity at the notion that future duly elected governments would be made to stick to plans laid out by unelected junta appointees.
Prolific online junta critic Peter Sombooncharoen wrote today that all the 20-year plans should be nullified once power is returned to the people.
“Once the NCPO is no longer in power … [its] order can be revoked,” Peter wrote, referring to the formal name of the junta, the National Council for Peace and Order.
Some prospective politicians seeking to compete in the next election have called for amending the 2017 constitution, which was written to enshrine military authority over future elected governments. Representatives from the Pheu Thai, Chart Thai Pattana and New Future parties have said it should be rewritten or thrown out and replaced.