Administrative divisions of Thailand

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Thailand is a unitary state in Southeast Asia. The administrative services of the executive branch of the government are regulated by the National Government Organisation Act, BE 2534 (1991) (พระราชบัญญัติระเบียบบริหารราชการแผ่นดิน พ.ศ. 2534). Under this Act, the services are divided into three levels: central, provincial and local.[1]

Government organisation[edit]

According to the National Government Organisation Act, BE 2534 (1991), the administrative services of the executive branch are divided into three levels, that is, central, provincial and local.[1]

Central government[edit]

The central government (ราชการส่วนกลาง) consists of ministries, bureaus and departments (กระทรวงทบวงกรม krasuang tha-buang krom).

Each of the ministries (กระทรวง krasuang) and bureaus (ทบวง tha-buang) is led by a minister (รัฐมนตรี ratthamontri) who is a member of the Council of Ministers (คณะรัฐมนตรี Khana Ratthamontri).[2] A bureau may be an independent agency with the same status as a ministry or may be subject to a ministry.[3] Currently, there is no any bureau.

The ministries and bureaus are divided into departments (กรม krom), inter alia. Each department is led by a director general (อธิบดี athibodi).[4]

There is a central government agency called Office of the Prime Minister (สำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี Samnak Nayok Ratthamontri). It is led by the Prime Minister (นายกรัฐมนตรี Nayok Ratthamontri) and bears a ministerial status.[5]

There are also independent central government agencies. These agencies are not under any ministry, bureau or department, but are directly subject to the Prime Minister.[6] They are:

  • Bureau of the Royal Household (สำนักพระราชวัง) or BRH,
  • National Police Agency (สำนักงานตำรวจแห่งชาติ) or NPA,
  • National Research Council of Thailand (สำนักงานคณะกรรมการวิจัยแห่งชาติ) or NRCT,
  • Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary (สำนักราชเลขาธิการ) or OHPPS,
  • Office of National Buddhism (สำนักงานพระพุทธศาสนาแห่งชาติ) or ONaB,
  • Office of the Royal Development Projects Boards (สำนักงานคณะกรรมการพิเศษเพื่อประสานงานโครงการอันเนื่องมาจากพระราชดำริ) or RDPB,
  • Royal Institute of Thailand (ราชบัณฑิตยสถาน) or RIT,
  • Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (ศูนย์อำนวยการบริหารจังหวัดชายแดนภาคใต้) or SBPAC.

Provincial government[edit]

The provincial government (ราชการส่วนภูมิภาค) consists of provinces (จังหวัด changwat). Currently, there are 76 provinces.

Each province is led by a governor (ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัด phu wa ratchakan changwat) and is divided into districts (อำเภอ amphoe).[7] as of 2010, there are 878 districts throughout the country. In each province, there is one capital district (อำเภอเมือง amphoe mueang). For example, the capital district of Chiang Mai Province is Mueang Chiang Mai District (อำเภอเมืองเชียงใหม่ Amphoe Mueang Chiang Mai). The exception is Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province, where both the province and the capital district share the same name.

Each district is led by a district chief (นายอำเภอ nai amphoe).[8]

Until 2007, some provinces might include minor districts (กิ่งอำเภอ king amphoe). A minor district was established in an vast area where the number of the citizens did, however, not yet suffice to form a district. Each minor district was led by a district clerk (ปลัดอำเภอ palat amphoe).[9]

The governors, district chiefs and district clerks are appointed by the central government.

Local government[edit]

The local government (ราชการส่วนท้องถิ่น) consists of two types: ordinary and special.

Ordinary local government[edit]

The ordinary local government (ราชการส่วนท้องถิ่นรูปแบบทั่วไป) is of two forms.

  1. Old form (แบบเก่า) under the Local Government Act, Buddhist Era 2457 (1914) (พระราชบัญญัติลักษณะปกครองท้องที่ พระพุทธศักราช 2475) – Under this form, the subdistricts (ตำบล tambon) are established in the districts and minor districts. Each subdistrict is led by a subdistrict chief (กำนัน kamnan) and is divided into villages (หมู่บ้าน mu ban). Each village is led by a village chief (ผู้ใหญ่บ้าน phu yai ban; literally "village elder").
  2. New form (แบบใหม่) under the Municipalities Act, BE 2496 (1953) (พระราชบัญญัติเทศบาล พ.ศ. 2496), the Subdistrict Councils and Subdistrict Administrative Organisations Act, BE 2537 (1995) (พระราชบัญญัติสภาตำบลและองค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล พ.ศ. 2537), and the Provincial Administrative Organisations Act, BE 2540 (1997) (พระราชบัญญัติองค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด พ.ศ. 2540) – The local government under this form is adopted in every province and consists of:
    1. municipalities (เทศบาล thetsaban) which are divided into city municipalities (เทศบาลนคร thetsaban nakhon), town municipalities (เทศบาลเมือง thetsaban mueang) and subdistrict municipalities (เทศบาลตำบล thetsaban tambon);
    2. administrative organisations (องค์การบริหาร ong kan borihan) which are divided into provincial administrative organisations (องค์การบริหารส่วนจังหวัด ong kan borihan suan changwat) and subdistrict administrative organisations (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบล ong kan borihan suan tambon).

The village chiefs are elected by the local citizens.[10] The chiefs of the villages in a subdistrict elect one amongst themselves to also serve as the chief of such subdistrict.[11] According to the Municipalities Act, BE 2496 (1953), when the new form of local government is adopted in any locality, the Minister of Interior may revoke the old form for that locality.[12]

A city municipality is established in an area where there are at least 50,000 citizens, a town municipality, in an area where there are at least 10,000 citizens, and a subdistrict municipality, in any other area.[13] The government of each municipality is divided into two branches: the executive branch led by a mayor (นายกเทศมนตรี nayok thetsamontri) and the legislative branch led by a municipal council (สภาเทศบาล sapha thetsaban).[14] The mayors and the municipal councillors are directly elected by the local citizens.[15]

As for an administrative organisation, the government is also divided into two branches: the executive branch led by an administrative organisation chief (นายกองค์การบริหาร nayok ong kan borihan) and the legislative branch led by an administrative organisation council (สภาองค์การบริหาร sapha ong kan borihan). The administrative organisation chiefs and councillors are directly elected by the local citizens.[16]

Special local government[edit]

The special local government (ราชการส่วนท้องถิ่นรูปแบบพิเศษ) is established is some significant localities. Currently, this type of local government is found in:

  1. Bangkok, called Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (กรุงเทพมหานคร Krung Thep Maha Nakhon) according to the Bangkok Metropolis Administrative Organisation Act, BE 2528 (1985) (พระราชบัญญัติระเบียบบริหารราชการกรุงเทพมหานคร พ.ศ. 2528), and
  2. Pattaya, called Pattaya City (เมืองพัทยา Mueang Phatthaya; literally "Pattaya Town") pursuant to the Pattaya City Administrative Organisation Act, BE 2542 (1999) (พระราชบัญญัติระเบียบบริหารราชการเมืองพัทยา พ.ศ. 2542).

The government of Bangkok and Pattaya is divided into two branches: executive and legislative.

As regards Bangkok, the executive branch is led by the Governor of Bangkok (ผู้ว่าราชการกรุงเทพมหานคร Phu Wa Ratchakan Krung Thep Maha Nakhon) and the legislative branch is led by the Council of Bangkok (สภากรุงเทพมหานคร Sapha Krung Thep Maha Nakhon). The territory of Bangkok is divided into districts (เขต khet).[17] There are now 50 districts. The government of each district is also divided into two branches: the executive branch led by a district director (ผู้อำนวยการเขต phu amnuai kan khet) and the legislative branch led by a district council (สภาแขวง sapha khwaeng).[18] Each district is then divided into subdistricts (แขวง khwaeng).[17] Each subdistrict is led by a subdistrict head (หัวหน้าแขวง hua na khwaeng).

The Governor of Bangkok and the Councillors of Bangkok are directly elected by the citizens of Bangkok.[19] The district directors and the subdistrict heads are appointed by the Governor of Bangkok from amongst the Bangkok metropolitan officers (ข้าราชการกรุงเทพมหานคร), whilst the district councillors are directly elected by the local citizens.[20]

As for Pattaya, the executive branch is led by the Mayor of Pattaya (นายกเมืองพัทยา Nayok Mueang Phatthaya) and the legislative branch is led by the Council of Pattaya (สภาเมืองพัทยา Sapha Mueang Phatthaya). The Mayor of Pattaya and the Councillors of Pattaya are directly elected by the citizens of Pattaya.[21]

There is a plan to adopt the special local government in Chiang Mai, which would turn Chiang Mai Province into Chiang Mai Metropolis (เชียงใหม่มหานคร Chiang Mai Maha Nakhon). The plan was proposed to the National Assembly by the citizens of Chiang Mai in October 2013.[22] However, it is regarded by the conservatives as separatism.[23]

There is also a plan to establish Mae Sot City (นครแม่สอด Nakhon Mae Sot) in Tak Province. The city would cover the current areas of Mae Sot City Municipality (เทศบาลนครแม่สอด) and Tha Sai Luat Subdistrict Municipality (เทศบาลตำบลท่าสายลวด). The plan would also result in the dissolution of both municipalities.[24]

Historical subdivisions[edit]

From the beginning of the 20th century until 1932 there was an additional subdivision called monthon (มณฑล, circle), with some of the larger ones subdivided into boriwen (บริเวณ, area). The first provinces were named mueang (เมือง, township) as those developed from the historical city-states. There were both Mueang directly dependent from Bangkok (thus similar to the modern province), as well as Mueang under supervision of a more powerful neighbour Mueang, or part of the semi-independent tributary states. In 1906 the transition to the term changwat started, which was finalised in 1916.[25]

After the abolishing of the monthon, a new subdivision named Region (ภาค, Phak) was established. At first there were 4 regions with changing outlines, in 1951 these were changed into 9 regions in 1951. In 1956 these regions were abolished as well.

A former municipal level were the sukhaphiban (sanitation districts, สุขาภิบาล), which were mostly responsible for sanitary tasks like waste disposal. The administrative level was created in 1908,[26] in May 1999 all were converted into subdistrict municipalities.[27]

Until 2007 minor districts (King Amphoe) were a special kind of districts, still partially a subordinate of another district. Usually newly created districts at first became minor districts and were upgraded to full districts after a few years. It became effective on August 24, 2007 that all 81 minor districts were upgraded to full districts, despite many still not reaching the prerequisites for becoming a full district.

Informal subdivisions[edit]

Bangkok and its vicinity (ปริมณฑล, pari monthon), including five adjacent provinces are referred to as Greater Bangkok (Thai: กรุงเทพมหานครและปริมณฑล), as the urban sprawl of the capital already spread into these areas.

There are several definitions of regions in Thailand, the one used by the National Statistical Office defines 4 regions - north, northeast, south and central.

Los Angeles, California is sometimes jokingly referred to as "The 78th Province" of Thailand, because the city has the highest Thai population of any city outside of Thailand (roughly 100,000).[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b National Government Organisation Act, BE 2534 (1991), section 3.
  2. ^ National Government Organisation Act, BE 2534 (1991), section 18, 20, 24, 25 and 27.
  3. ^ National Government Organisation Act, BE 2534 (1991), sections 24 and 25.
  4. ^ National Government Organisation Act, BE 2534 (1991), sections 31 and 32.
  5. ^ National Government Organisation Act, BE 2534 (1991), sections 7, 9 and 16.
  6. ^ National Government Organisation Act, BE 2534 (1991), sections 7, 31, 36 and 37.
  7. ^ National Government Organisation Act, BE 2534 (1991), sections 51, 54 and 61.
  8. ^ National Government Organisation Act, BE 2534 (1991), section 62.
  9. ^ "Royal Institute Dictionary 1999" (in Thai). Bangkok: Royal Institute of Thailand. 2007. Retrieved 2014-05-02. "กิ่งอำเภอ (กฎ) น. ท้องที่ที่มีความจำเป็นในการปกครอง แยกมาจากอำเภอที่มีเขตท้องที่กว้างขวางแต่จำนวนประชากรไม่มาก หรือที่ที่มีชุมชนมากแต่ท้องที่ไม่กว้างขวางพอที่จะตั้งขึ้นเป็นอำเภอ มีปลัดอำเภอผู้เป็นหัวหน้าประจำกิ่งอำเภอเป็นหัวหน้าปกครอง" 
  10. ^ Local Government Act, Buddhist Era 2457 (1914), sections 11, 12 and 13.
  11. ^ Local Government Act, Buddhist Era 2457 (1914), section 30.
  12. ^ Municipalities Act, BE 2496 (1953), section 4.
  13. ^ Municipalities Act, BE 2496 (1953), sections 9, 10 and 11.
  14. ^ Municipalities Act, BE 2496 (1953), section 14.
  15. ^ Municipalities Act, BE 2496 (1953), sections 15 and 48 bis.
  16. ^ Subdistrict Councils and Subdistrict Administrative Organisations Act, BE 2537 (1995), sections 44, 45, and 58, Provincial Administrative Organisations Act, BE 2540 (1997), sections 7, 9 and 35.
  17. ^ a b Bangkok Metropolis Administrative Organisation Act, BE 2528 (1985), section 7.
  18. ^ Bangkok Metropolis Administrative Organisation Act, BE 2528 (1985), sections 68 and 71.
  19. ^ Bangkok Metropolis Administrative Organisation Act, BE 2528 (1985), sections 9, 10 and 44.
  20. ^ Bangkok Metropolis Administrative Organisation Act, BE 2528 (1985), section 71.
  21. ^ Pattaya City Administrative Organisation Act, BE 2542 (1999), sections 8, 9 and 41.
  22. ^ เสนอสภา! เครือข่ายเชียงใหม่จัดการตนเองยื่นร่าง 'พ.ร.บ.เชียงใหม่มหานคร' (in Thai). Manager. 2013-10-26. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  23. ^ สุมิตรชัย หัตถสาร คิดการใหญ่ 'เชียงใหม่มหานคร' (in Thai). Bangkok Biz News. 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  24. ^ ร่างพระราชบัญญัติระเบียบบริหารราชการนครแม่สอด พ.ศ. .... (in Thai). Public Relations Department, Office of the Prime Minister. 2012-03-08. Retrieved 2014-05-02. 
  25. ^ ประกาศกระทรวงมหาดไทย เรื่อง ทรงพระกรุณาโปรดเกล้า ฯ ให้เปลี่ยนคำว่าเมืองเรียกว่าจังหวัด (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai) 33 (0 ก): 51. May 28, 1916. 
  26. ^ พระราชบัญญัติจัดการสุขาภิบาลตามหัวเมือง ร.ศ. ๑๒๗ (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai) 25 (24): 668–673. September 13, 1908. 
  27. ^ พระราชบัญญัติเปลี่ยนแปลงฐานะของสุขาภิบาลเป็นเทศบาล พ.ศ. ๒๕๔๒ (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai) 116 (9 ก): 1–4. February 24, 1999. 
  28. ^ "America's Best Neighborhoods for Ethnic Food — Thai Town, Los Angeles". Travel + Leisure. Retrieved August 22, 2014. 
Bibliography

See also[edit]

External links[edit]