World

Thai junta lays out 20-year plan

BANGKOK: Thailand's junta on Thursday said any future civilian government will be legally bound to follow a 20-year "master plan" for the country as generals seek to entrench their political influence for decades to come.

Soldiers have run Thailand since a 2014 coup, ushering in the country's most autocratic government in a generation.

The military said the coup was needed to end more than a decade of political instability, instigate reform and root out corruption.

But critics decry severely stifled freedom, as promised deadlines to return to civilian rule keep slipping.

In an announcement heavy on aims but light on concrete policies, Major General Werachon Sukondhapatipak said the 20-year plan would help Thailand becomes a high income country by tackling, among other things, corruption, a sclerotic civil service and boosting the country's flagging economy.

Analysts say the latest plan raises the prospect of a return to the 1980s, where the army effectively controlled nominally civilian administrations.

The kingdom already has the lowest growth rate in South-east Asia, with a World Bank report this week warning GDP will dip to 3 per cent by the year 2021.- AFP

thailandpoliticsEconomy