|Water Sanitation Case Studies and Analyses (Peace Corps)|
|Kingdom of Thailand case study and analysis|
A revolution in 1932 transformed the Thai system of government from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy. Under the new constitution of December 22, 1978, the 14th constitution since 1932, the King is formally the head of state. Although he has little direct power, he is an important popular symbol of national identity and unity.
The Prime Minister is the head of government and center of political power. The Prime Minister heads and may personally select the cabinet (Council of Ministers) of up to 44 ministers and deputy ministers.
The bicameral National Assembly is the legislative body of the Thai Government. The 301 members of the lower house are popularly elected; the 225 members of the upper house are nominated by the Prime Minister for formal royal consent and appointment. The power and influence of the two chambers are about equal. However, the lower house exercises greater control over money bills and can vote no-confidence motions against a sitting government.
The judicial branch consists of three levels of courts. The Supreme Court is the highest court and its judges are appointed by the King. The legal system blends principles of traditional Thai and Western law. Law dealing with family and inheritance matters is rooted In traditional laws and customs, while criminal, civil, and commercial codes are adapted from British and European legal systems. In the far south, where Muslims constitute the majority of the population of several provinces, Koranic law is also applied.
For administrative purposes, Thailand's 73 provinces are subdivided into 642 districts. Governors of the provinces and district officers are appointed by the Ministry of Interior. Larger towns are administered through the shared authority of elected municipal assemblies and district officers.
In the countryside, village leaders are popularly elected and given official positions and limited authority by the central government. Groups of villages are loosely aggregated into tambons or "communes." Leaders from the tambons elect one of their members to serve as kamnan, or "commune chief." This local democracy has been traditional in Thailand.
There is universal suffrage for adults over age 20.