New Thai, New Asia part 1

I’m back writing again. I’m sure Richard would be pleased to see me back. For those who do not know me. I’m a Thai student studying in England. I mainly live in London and I sometimes spend my free time writing blogs, comparing general topics concerning the life in Thailand and the UK.

On Sunday, I went to Wales. It was my first time visiting Swansea and Cardiff. I was pretty much amazed of the way people had to use 2 languages there. Normally, in the UK, everyone should speak the same language but I guess, the Welsh community is unique. However, I find them very friendly (friendlier than those who live in larger cities).

To the topic, I would like to first present some overview of some of the political statuses with are currently situated in Thailand which will be the main body I will be blogging about today. As you know, there was a coup in Thailand. Since my arrival in England last week, people have been asking me about the situation in Thailand. I can tell you that on that night that the military started to intrude into Bangkok, I was driving home. I got so many calls telling me to go home. I didn’t know why it was so tense because in my life time I’ve never seen a military invasion before. I’ve only read about it in the history books. So, I did not know how violent it would be. The last time I can recall a coup occurred in 1990 which was almost 15 years ago; hence I was 5 years old.

So, I went straight home to watch the news channels and see live pictures but there was nothing. Only music videos related to the king. I had obviously no idea what was going on. So, I turned to BBC and CNN which they were trying to get pictures but I guess they were quite shocked and unprepared to what was going on as well. I continued to watch the Thai public channels until 3am and found out that the following day was a public holiday.

Following the coup, there have been many changes to Thailand. A new era is about to be written in the history books. We’ve had a new PM and a new cabinet. Now let me tell you about the Thai political structure that has been used in the democratic governing structure of the country. The structure is very much a copycat of the British system. Thailand has 2 parliaments; the lower and upper council. The lower parliament consists of approx. 500 members or the so called Members of Parliament (MP) in Britain. These members are elected from different provinces of Thailand judging by the number of population living in that province.

Let’s say Samutprakarn, my province, has 1.2 million people living there and the province is divided into 6 districts and each district has 200,000 people living. So, there will be 6 MPs representing my province (200,000 per 1 MP). Every district should have no less than 200,000 in population in order to have a separate MP. If not, the districts will be joined. In every election, there are competitions between parties. Within the past decades, there have been 2 parties in contention; Thai Rak Thai and the Conservative. Thailand has a long history in ex-militaries leading the country. Although, military personnel are not allowed in political structures but once they are retired, their ranks stay the same which sees a lot of Thai PMs(and the current one) become the leader of the country.

Although to achieve the leadership within a parliament, a party should have the majority of seats in parliament (approx. 250) to be able to elect a leader. Unlike the British house of parliament which uses a very small parliament chamber that symbolizes the roman parliament. The Thai house of parliament is very different, the chamber is huge. It is like one of the biggest parliament chamber you’ll ever see in this world. It is situated in a very attractive building called Pra-tee-nung-anan-tadsamakom(พระที่นั่งอนันตสมาคม ). Recently, the Thai system has developed a “Party list” system where in a parliament; there would be approximately 50 Party list members. These members are often the elite members of a party. They have a

The upper house consists of elected 200 members which are INDEPENDENT from any political parties. These are the people that form up the law as well as the constitution regulations. Again, for each province to have an upper house member, there needs to be enough population for that member to represent an area. I cannot remember an exact number of population per representative member but I can recall that Bangkok alone has 12. Every time there is a new election to the lower house that consist change in government power, the upper house automatically becomes void. But if there is no change of government, the house remains and serves the house for 4 years for each term.

Next time I’ll blog more on the political structure of Thailand concerning the PM, the cabinets and the privy councilor.

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