Local Government in Thailand and Decentralization after the 2014 Military Coup
The objectives of this article are 1) to study the decentralization and local government situation in Thailand after the coup d’état in 2014 and 2) to investigate the direction of decentralization under the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2560 (2017). Document analysis was used for data collection. It was found that Thailand’s local government system has been developing for over a century. It was evident that most of the administrative system was based mainly on the central government with most of the local administrators being appointed by the central government. In 1997, there was major reform under the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2540 (1997). This reform can be considered as progress for local government in Thailand as decentralization for local administration was clearly specified in the Constitution. In the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand B.E. 2550 (2007), the essential parts of decentralization were not changed and some aspects were added. However, with this attempt to decentralize local government, there were still many obstacles that deterred and delayed the development process. Moreover, the political changes in 2014 caused the drawback of power to more centralization, as can be seen from the pattern of the issuing of orders, appointments, suspensions and inhibitions of local government operations including the removal of local administrators. When considering the contents of the 2017 Constitution from the database and observations of documentation presented by experts, it was revealed that many chapters in the 2017 Constitution were unclear concerning decentralization. And on consideration of the National Reform Plan of the National Reform Steering Assembly in reference to local government, it was found that, although there was progress on various issues, certain other issues still did not show a firm direction towards strong decentralization of local government.
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