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December 15, 2008

Wikipedia: House of Representatives of Thailand

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House of Representatives of Thailand
สภาผู้แทนราษฎรไทย
Type
Type Lower house
Leadership
Speaker of the House Chai Chidchob, For Thais Party
since May 15, 2008
Leader of the Governing Coalition and Prime Minister of Thailand vacant,
since 2 December 2008
Leader of the Opposition Abhisit Vejjajiva, (Democrat Party)
since December 23, 2007
Structure
Members 480 Members
Political groups For Thais Party
Democrat Party
For the Motherland
Thais United National Development Party
Royalist People’s Party
Others
Election
Last election 23 December 2007
Meeting place
Parliament Building of Thailand
Web site
[1]
Thailand

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Thailand


  • King
    • Bhumibol Adulyadej
  • Government
  • Prime Minister (List)
    • Chaovarat Chanweerakul
    • Cabinet of Thailand (List)
  • National Assembly
    • Senate
    • House of Representatives
  • Political parties
  • Elections (Commission)
    • Senate: 2008
    • House of Representatives: 2007
  • Constitutions
    • Current Constitution (referendum)
  • Constitutional Court
  • Provinces and districts
  • Human rights
  • South Thailand insurgency
  • Foreign relations
  • Foreign aid
  • Coups
  • Political Crisis of 2008

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The House of Representatives of the Kingdom of Thailand (Thai: สภาผู้แทนราษฎร: Saphaputhan Ratsadon) is the Lower House and one half of the National Assembly of Thailand; the legislative branch of the Thai Government. The system of government of Thailand is that of a Constitutional Monarchy and a Parliamentary Democracy. It can correctly be said that the system of government, especially the legislative branch was modelled after the Westminster system. The House of Representatives has 480 Members: 400 Members are democratically elected through single constituency elections. While the other 80 is appointed accordingly through proportional representation. The roles and power of the House of Representatives have most recently been enshrined in the Constitution of 2007.

Contents

History

The House of Representatives has existed in some form since the Revolution of 1932. When the Khana Ratsadon (or the People’s Party) overthrew the system of absolute monarchy and replaced it with the present system of constitutional monarchy. When King Prajadhipok signed the Temporary Constitution of 1932, he established the first legislative assembly in Thailand, it was however a fully appointed chamber. The first session of the People’s Assembly was held on the 28 June 1932 in the Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall. From then on the House existed in various forms until the present form in 2007:

See more at: Constitutions of Thailand

  • 1946- the constitution created a fully elected House of Representatives.
  • 1952- Establishment of the unicameral National Assembly with 123 members.
  • 1959- the House was banned by Sarit Dhanarajata.
  • 1968- the House was re-established with 219 members.
  • 1972- the House is again banned this time by Thanom Kittikachorn.
  • 1974- Return of the House of Representatives
  • 1976- Re-establishment of a single chamber National Assembly with 360 members (Royally appointed).
  • 1978- Return of an elected House with 301 members.
  • 1991- creation of a unicameral National Assembly with 292 appointed members.
  • 1997- establishment of a 500 member House of Representatives, 400 directly elected with 100 through proportional representation.
  • 2006- after the coup an interim charter was signed establishing a 250 member National Legislative Assembly.
  • 2007-Present system approved, by referendum under the 2007 Constitution of Thailand.

Qualification

The qualifications to be a candidate for the House of Representatives are outlined in Section 101, Part 2, Chapter 6 of the 2007 Constitution. The candidate must be a citizen of Thailand by birth only. The citizen must be at the age of twenty-five or older on Election Day. Being born in the province in which he or she intends to stand as a candidate. The candidate must have been a voter and therefore on the electoral register for at least five years directly before the election, he or she must also have a house or been in official service in the province for five years. The candidate must also have been a member of an educational institution in that province for at least five consecutive years. Politically a candidate must be a member of one political party for a period of at least ninety days before Election Day, except in cases of dissolution where thirty days is the minimum period. This is done to discourage party switching before the election. For party list candidates, they must also meet the same qualifications except for the provincial restrictions. They are instead divided in lists based on provincial groups.

Those specifically barred from being candidates and therefore members of the House are individuals who were: addicted to drugs, declared bankrupt, unable to vote (see voter eligibility bellow), a former convicted felon (the individual must wait for five years after release to be eligible), removed from public service for being corrupt or incompetent, had assets confiscated for being unusually wealthy; and finally the individual must not be a member of the: government or civil service, Senate, local administrations, member of the judiciary or other independent agencies.

Elections

The House of Representatives has 480 members. 400 members are directly elected in single constituency elections based on the First Past the Post system. The 400 constituencies are divided by population according to the census and provincial division.

Map of electoral areas

  • Area 1 : 11 provinces with 7,615,610 population – Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son,Phayao, Nan, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Sukhothai, Tak, and Kamphaeng Phet
  • Area 2 : 9 provinces with 7,897,563 population – Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani, Phetchabun, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Lop Buri, and Uttaradit
  • Area 3 : 10 provinces with 7,959,163 population – Nong Khai, Udon Thani, Loei, Nakhon Phanom, Sakon Nakhon, Nong Bua Lamphu, Kalasin, Mukdahan, Maha Sarakham, and Amnat Charoen
  • Area 4 : 6 provinces with 7,992,434 population – Roi Et, Yasothon, Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket, Surin, and Buri Ram
  • Area 5 : 10 provinces with 7,818,710 population – Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Sa Kaeo, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi, Trat, and Pathum Thani
  • Area 6 : 3 provinces with 7,802,639 population – Bangkok, Nonthaburi, and Samut Prakan
  • Area 7 : 15 provinces with 7,800,965 population – Kanchanaburi, Suphan Buri, Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chumphon, Ranong, Chai Nat, Sing Buri, Ang Thong, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Samut Sakhon, and Samut Songkhram
  • Area 8 : 12 provinces with 7,941,622 population – Surat Thani, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Krabi, Phuket, Trang, Phatthalung, Satun, Songkhla, Pattani, Narathiwat, and Yala

The other 80 members are appointed based on ‘proportional representation’ it is actually in truth a parallel voting system or more precisely the Mixed Member Majoritarian system (MMM). This is when the voters have two vote: one to select their Member of Parliament for their constituency and the second to choose which ever party they prefer more. Seats are assigned to parties as a result through party lists.

In accordance with the Constitution an election must be held every 4 years. Dissolution can happen anytime before then (usually by the King with the advice of the Prime Minister) through the use of the Royal Decree. Elections are held under universal suffrage; voter must be a National of Thailand; if not by birth then by being a citizen for 5 years. Must be over 18 years old before the year the election is held. The voter must have also registered ninety days before the election at his constituency. Voting in elections are also mandatory missing an election will result in minor tax penalties and other penalties. Those barred from voting in House elections are: members of the clergy, those suspended from the privilege (for various reasons), detainees under legal or court orders and being of unsound mind or of mental infirmity.

See most recent election at: Thai general election, 2007

Term and Dissolution

The Term of the House of Representatives is exactly four years from the previous Election Day. Upon the expiration of the House the King will issue a Royal Decree calling for the general election of the House, in which the date of the election must be announced; this must be done within forty days of the expiration. The date of the election must be the same for the entire Kingdom.

The King holds the Royal prerogative to dissolve the House before its expiration. When this happens a Royal Decree is issue where the election date is announced; this must be done no less than forty days and not more than sixty days from the date of dissolution. The reasons and circumstances of a dissolution can be made only once.

Membership

The membership of the House of Representatives commences on Election Day. If there is a vacancy in the membership of the House, and it was not due to expiration or dissolution, it must be filled. Vacancies can occur due to: death, resignation, being convicted and being expelled (only by parliamentary party under vote of 3/4). If the vacancy is of a constituency member then an election must be held within forty days of the vacancy, unless the present term of the House is under one hundred and eighty days (then the vacancy can remain unfilled).

In the case where the vacancy is made by a proportional representative member, the vacancy will be filled by the President of the House of Representatives by submitting the name of the next candidate in the party list (submitted on election day) to be published in the Royal Gazette. This must be done within seven days. If no name is to be founded then the vacancy can remain unfilled. Members of the House who has filled a vacancy under either of these procedures can only remain in the House for the remainder of its present term.

Power and Privileges

Powers

According to the Constitution, the House of Representatives is appropriated many powers, most of them they share with Senate of Thailand. These Shared Powers are:

  • Legislation
  • Scrutiny
  • Passing of annual Appropriations Bills
  • Constitutional Amendments

Exclusive powers:

  • Primary legislative chamber.
  • Creating and appointing committees to examine bills.
  • Power to call Ministers to account (by appearing in the chamber and answering questions)
  • Removal of the Prime Minister through a vote of no confidence (more than 1/5 to vote for a debate, and a simple majority for removal).
  • Removal of Ministers (more than 1/6 to vote for a debate, and a simple majority for removal).
  • Selection of its Officers.
  • Expulsion of members
  • Determination of its own rules and procedures.

Privileges

No member of the House can be arrested, detained or summoned by a warrant for an inquiry as the suspect in a criminal case unless permission of the House of which he or she is a member is obtained or he or she is arrested in flagrante delicto.

Leadership

Presiding Officers

The House of Representatives shall elected one President and two Vice Presidents to be its presiding officers. The Speaker of the House is also the ex officio President of the National Assembly of Thailand. The election is done by secret ballot in the first session; after a resolution is passed; the elected will be formally appointed by the King. The President and Vice Presidents of the House cannot be a member of the government (cabinet) or a political party executive committee. Theoretically the President and his deputies must not be a partisan figure and exercise his powers on a non-partisan basis. The current Officers are:[1]

  • President of the House of Representatives and President of the National Assembly of the Kingdom of Thailand:

The Right Honorable Chai Chidchob (MP from Party-List 4th Area, Buri Ram Province, of the For Thais Party)

  • 1st Vice President of the House of Representatives:

The Right Honorable Samart Keawmeechai (MP from the 1st District of Chiang Rai Province, of the For Thais Party)

  • 2nd Vice President of the House of Representatives:

The Right Honorable Dr. Apiwan Wiriyachai (MP from the 2nd District of Nonthaburi Province, of the For Thais Party)

Leader of the Governing Coalition

The Constitution stipulates that the Prime Minister and others Ministers of the government must be a member of the House of Representatives. After the first session, the House must vote in a resolution to nominate a Prime Minister, the King will then formally appoint him within thirty days. The nominee is always the leader of the largest party in the House. However under the present electoral system, the House is most likely to result in a weak or hung majority. After the general election of 2007, members of six parties formed a governing coalition, naming Samak Sundaravej of the PPP; leader.

The House voted 310 for Samak and 163 for Abhisit. The six party governing coalition was made up of: the PPP, PRP, Pua Paendin, RJCPP, MCMP and CTP. Leaving the Democrat Party the lone opposition party. In September 2008, the House voted again and confirm Somchai Wongsawat (after the resignation of Samak) as the leader of the governing coalition to a vote of 298 against 163 (again versus Abhisit). On 2 December 2008, the Constitutional Court dissolved 3 of the main governing party including the PPP, thereby ending the current coalition agreement.[2]

  • The current Leader of the Governing Coalition and Prime Minister is:

Vacant

Leader of the Opposition

After the appointment of the Cabinet, the King will appoint the official Leader of the Opposition of Thailand. The Leader of the Opposition must be the leader of the largest party with no members holding any ministerial positions. His party must be larger than 1/5 of the total number of the House. If no Party meets this qualification then the Leader with most votes from parties with no ministerial positions will then be appointed. The Royal appointment must be countersigned by the President of the National Assembly. The Leader of the Opposition will lead the Shadow Cabinet of Thailand.

  • The current Leader of the Opposition is:

The Honorable Abhisit Vejjajiva (MP from Party-List 6th Area, Bangkok Metropolitan Area, of the Democrat Party)

Recent Election Result

Main article: Thai general election, 2007
discuss –
Summary of the 23 December 2007 House of Representatives of Thailand Thai general election results
Party Constituency Proportional TOTAL
Votes % Seats Votes % Seats
People’s Power Party 26,293,456 36.63 199 14,071,799 39.60 34 233
Democrat Party 21,745,696 30.30 132 14,084,265 39.63 33 165
Thai Nation Party 6,363,475 8.87 33 1,545,282 4.35 4 37
For the Motherland 6,599,422 9.19 17 1,981,021 5.57 7 24
Thais United National Development Party 3,395,197 4.73 8 948,544 2.67 1 9
Neutral Democratic Party 3,844,673 5.36 7 528,464 1.49 0 7
Royalist People’s Party 1,632,795 2.27 4 750,158 2.11 1 5
Others 1,897,953 2.64 1,626,234 4.58 0
Valid votes 71,772,667* 100 400 35,535,767 100 80 480
No Votes   906,216 2.32
Invalid Votes 2,539,429 6.51
Total Turnout 38,981,412 85.38
Source: The Nation

* As constituencies elect between one and three MPs, some people have two or three votes.

Current Commposition

Current allotment of seats, following the dissolution of the three coalition parties by the Constitutional Court of Thailand, on 2 December 2008.

See more at: 2008 Party Dissolution ruling

Current Composition of the House of Representatives, 3 December 2008
Parties Previous seats Banned members Current members Leader
For Thais Party former PPP 232 13 (banned), 6 (suspended) 213 Yongyuth Wichaidit
Democrat Party 165 165 Abhisit Vejjajiva
For the Motherland 24 1 (not active) 23 Suwit Khunkitti
Former Thai Nation Party 34 19 15 Banharn Silpa-Archa
Former Neutral Democratic Party* 11 11 Anongwan Thepsuthin
Thais United National Development Party 9 9 Chettha Thanajarong
Royalist People’s Party 5 5 Sanoh Thienthong
Vacant (banned or inactive) 39
Total (out of 480) 441 (Active MPs)
Source: The Nation.com
*The party and its executives were banned, but none of them [the executives] were MPs.

See also

  • Constitutions of Thailand
  • 2007 Constitution of Thailand
  • National Assembly of Thailand
  • Parliament of Thailand 2005-2006-precursor of the 2007 Assembly

External Links

  • http://www.parliament.go.th/main.php
  • http://www.parliament.go.th/files/mainpage.htm

References

  • Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand 2007
  • Background Note: Thailand: U.S. State Department public domain document
  1. ^ http://www.parliament.go.th/
  2. ^ http://www.nationmultimedia.com/worldhotnews/read.php?newsid=30089990
This text comes from Wikipedia. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikipedia.

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