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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) ( ?.?. 2534). Under this Act, the services are divided into three levels: central, provincial and local.
|Special governed cities|
The central government () consists of ministries, bureaus, and departments ( krasuang tha-buang krom).
Each of the ministries (? krasuang) and bureaus (? tha-buang) is led by a minister ( ratthamontri) who is a member of the Council of Ministers ( Khana Ratthamontri). A bureau may be an independent agency with the same status as a ministry or may be subject to a ministry. Currently, there are no bureaus.
There is a central government agency called Office of the Prime Minister (Thai: ; RTGS: samnak nayok rattha montri). It is led by the prime minister (Thai: ; RTGS: nayok rattha montri) and bears ministerial status.
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. They are:
Each province is led by a governor (? phu wa ratchakan changwat) and is divided into districts ( amphoe). As of 2010 , there were 878 districts throughout the country. In each province, there is one capital district (? amphoe mueang). For example, the capital district of Chiang Mai Province is Mueang Chiang Mai District (? 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 ( nai amphoe).
Until 2007, some provinces might include minor districts ( king amphoe). A minor district was established in large areas where the small number of residents did not warrant the formation of a district. Each minor district was led by a district clerk ( palat amphoe).
Governors, district chiefs, and district clerks are appointed by the central government.
Local government () consists of two types: ordinary and special.
Ordinary local government () is of two forms.
Village chiefs are elected by local citizens. The chiefs of the villages in a subdistrict elect one of their number to also serve as the chief of the subdistrict. 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.
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. The government of each municipality is divided into two branches: the executive branch led by a mayor ( nayok thetsamontri) and the legislative branch led by a municipal council ( sapha thetsaban). The mayors and the municipal councillors are directly elected by the local citizens.
As for an administrative organisation, the government is also divided into two branches: the executive branch led by an administrative organisation chief ( nayok ong kan borihan) and the legislative branch led by an administrative organisation council (? sapha ong kan borihan). The administrative organisation chiefs and councillors are directly elected by the local citizens.
Special local government () is established in some significant localities. Currently, this type of local government is found in:
The governments of Bangkok and Pattaya are divided into two branches: executive and legislative.
Bangkok: the executive branch is led by the Governor of Bangkok (? Phu Wa Ratchakan Krung Thep Maha Nakhon) and the legislative branch is led by the Council of Bangkok (? Sapha Krung Thep Maha Nakhon). The territory of Bangkok is divided into districts ( khet). There are now 50 districts. The government of each district is also divided into two branches: the executive branch led by a district director ( phu amnuai kan khet) and the legislative branch led by a district council (? sapha khwaeng). Each district is then divided into subdistricts (? khwaeng). There are now 180 subdistricts. Each subdistrict is led by a subdistrict head ( hua na khwaeng).
The Governor of Bangkok and the Councillors of Bangkok are directly elected by the citizens of Bangkok. The district directors and the subdistrict heads are appointed by the Governor of Bangkok from amongst the Bangkok metropolitan officers (?), whilst the district councillors are directly elected by the local citizens.
Pattaya:, the executive branch is led by the Mayor of Pattaya ( Nayok Mueang Phatthaya) and the legislative branch is led by the Council of Pattaya (? Sapha Mueang Phatthaya). The Mayor of Pattaya and the Councillors of Pattaya are directly elected by the citizens of Pattaya.
There is a plan to adopt the special local government in Chiang Mai, which would turn Chiang Mai Province into Chiang Mai Metropolis ( Chiang Mai Maha Nakhon). The plan was proposed to the National Assembly by the citizens of Chiang Mai in October 2013. However, it is regarded by the conservatives as separatism.
There is also a plan to establish Mae Sot City ( Nakhon Mae Sot) in Tak Province. The city would cover the current areas of Mae Sot City Municipality () and Tha Sai Luat Subdistrict Municipality (?). The plan would also result in the dissolution of both municipalities.
From the beginning of the 20th century until 1932 there was an additional subdivision called monthon (?, circle), with some of the larger monthons subdivided into boriwen (, area). The first provinces were named mueang (, 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 the supervision of a more powerful neighbouring mueang, or part of the semi-independent tributary states. In 1906 the transition to the term changwat started, which was finalised in 1916.
After the abolition of the monthon, a new subdivision named "region" (, Phak) was established. At first there were four regions with changing outlines. These were changed into nine regions in 1951. In 1956 these regions were abolished as well.
A former municipal level were the sukhaphiban (sanitation districts, ), which were mostly responsible for sanitary tasks like waste management. The administrative level was created in 1908, in May 1999 all were converted into subdistrict municipalities. 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. On 24 August 2007 all 81 minor districts were upgraded to full districts, despite many still not meeting the prerequisites for becoming a full district.
Bangkok and its vicinity (?, pari monthon), including five adjacent provinces are referred to as Bangkok Metropolitan Region - BMR (Thai: ).
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