Thai Civilization/Political and Administrative Background of the Thai Society

The Administration Before the Reformation By King Rama VEdit

The kingdom of Thailand has its king as head of state.

Central AdministrationEdit

Provincial AdministrationEdit

Provincial administration is a part of the country’s administrative machines, allowing local communities a certain level of autonomy. The local powers are under the state powers; the local administrations are not independent bodies; they are under the national laws, set up for the benefit and well-being of the members of the community.

The website of Thailand's Election Commision has explained why the local administration is important:

       Powers and Duties of the Local Governmental Organisations

" Decentralisation is, amongst others, the fundamental principle of the local government to empower people of self-government according to their will. They will elect their representatives (members of the local assemblies or local administrators) to administer the local affairs instead of them with expectation of their better lives as well as protecting local interests and the country’s as a whole."

" Therefore, all the local governmental organisations shall enjoy autonomy in laying down policies for their governance, administration, finance, and shall have powers and duties particularly on their own part. Members of the local assemblies or local administrators shall hold office for the period of four years."


There are currently 5 kinds of Thailand’s local (provincial) administration.


1) Provincial Administration Organization is the largest body of Thailand’s provincial administration; each province has one, except Bangkok. The PAO covers the area of the whole province, set up with an aim to manage and provide public services within its province, helping the works of municipalities and the sub-district administrations; it does so by collaborating with other administrations within the same province to avoid power redundancy and appropriate budget allocation.

Provincial Administrative organization (PAO) consists of two administrations. The first is the administrative body led by the chair of the provincial administrative organization; he or she is responsible for all the administrative affairs of the province. The second is the legislative body where members of the provincial administrative organization issues rules and regulations as well as monitor the management of the provincial organization.

There is only one chair of each provincial administration organization; he or she is elected by the people in the province. The main duty is to monitor and manage the provincial administration organization led by the permanent secretary of the organization who functions as the top executive of the organization. The chair appoints his or her assistants who are not members of the provincial administration council to help him or her running the administrative affairs of the organization. The assistantship serves for four years. Their duties include managing and monitoring of the provincial administrative affairs, making sure that the administration is done in accordance with the provincial acts and regulations and the provincial development plan. Other duties include planning for the development of the province, setting up the annual budget to be submitted to the provincial administrative council, and reporting the performance and expenditures to the provincial administrative council.

Members of the PAO are directly elected by the people; they are elected to a four-year term. Their duties and responsibilities include enacting rules and regulations to be used within a particular province or district such as regulations on petrol and tobacco taxes, monitoring of the administration of the PAO, and monitoring and evaluation of projects’ expenditures. Their roles and responsibilities also include their roles in approving the provincial development plan which is a collection of plans and projects submitted from municipalities and sub-district administration organizations. The plan may entail road construction or other infrastructures. They also take part in approving the province’s annual budget, which is the management of the public money, managing the collected taxes levied from the public; the taxes include property tax and indirect taxes such as trade and business taxes. These collected taxes, in principle, would return for the development of the province or city.

2) Municipalities refer to provincial political units, such as a city or town. It has three categories: (1) sub-district (Tambon) municipality, district (Muang) municipality, and (33) city (Nakorn) municipality, depending on the number of population and the civility and development of that particular area.

Municipalities are set up to manage and provide basic infrastructures for people in local areas; they permeate the daily life of people from birth to death. In theory, a municipality has its autonomous administration. Municipal staff and the permanent secretary function as local government servants, carrying out their duties under the supervision of the municipal council directly elected by the people.

A municipality entails two bodies: legislative and administrative bodies. The legislative body’s main duty is to enact local regulations and monitor the administration of the municipal council; the administrative body manages the affaires of the municipality via the executive power of the mayor and the members of the municipal council.

The mayor is directly elected from the eligible people with a particular constituent, serving for the term of 4 years; each municipality entails 2 council members from each sub-district (Tambon), 3 council members from each district, and 4 council members from the province.

Members of the municipal council are directly elected from the eligible voters, serving the term of 4 years. The number of the council members depends on the type of the municipality. The number is 12 for the sub-district municipal council, 18 for the district municipal council and 24 for the city municipal council.

3) The Special Administration of Bangkok. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration divides its administration into districts and sub-districts. The Bangkok Administration Council functions as the legislative body; the governor of Bangkok is the head of the administrative body. The governor and members of the Bangkok Administration Council are elected from the voters. The term for the members of the council is 4 years.

4) The Special Administration of Pattaya. This administration entails the city council as the legislative branch entailing the 24 elected members. The mayor of Pattaya is elected by the people, serving as the head of the executive branch.

5) The Sub-District Administration Organization is a local administrative organization under the Councils and Sub-district Administration Organization Act BE 2537, functioning as a local administrative organization at the sub-district (Tambon) level; it is, thus, very close to the people of the community. A Sub-district Administration Organization has developed from a Tambon Council with income up to a certain level. It is established to manage public services at the local level, villages and sub-districts, as it is impractical for the government to administer all of the villages in the country, the number of which is over 70000.

A sub-district administration organization entails two branches: the legislative branch and the executive branch. The legislative branch entails members of the organization; their main duties are to pass the local laws and monitor the administrative affaires of the sub-district. The executive branch is led by the president of the organization who chairs the sub-district administration organization. The chair of a sub-district administration organization is elected by the people functioning as the head of the administrative branch, and the term is 4 years.

Members of the sub-district administration organization are directly elected by the people of the community; their administrative term lasts for four years. The number of the members of for each sub-district varies, depending on the number of villages within a particular sub-district. The sub-district organization of only one village can only have 5 members. If the number of villages is two, each village is allowed to vote for three representatives. The organization with more than two villages is allowed to have two representatives for each village (See Thailand's Office of Election Commission [1].