Thailand the Kingdom of Thailand and known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula composed of 76 provinces. At 513,120 km2 and over 68 million people, Thailand is the world's 50th largest country by total area and the 21st-most-populous country; the capital and largest city is a special administrative area. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar, its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Although nominally a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, the most recent coup in 2014 established a de facto military dictatorship. Tai peoples migrated from southwestern China to mainland Southeast Asia from the 11th century. Various Indianised kingdoms such as the Mon, the Khmer Empire and Malay states ruled the region, competing with Thai states such as Ngoenyang, the Sukhothai Kingdom, Lan Na and the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which rivaled each other.
European contact began in 1511 with a Portuguese diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya, one of the great powers in the region. Ayutthaya reached its peak during cosmopolitan Narai's reign declining thereafter until being destroyed in 1767 in a war with Burma. Taksin reunified the fragmented territory and established the short-lived Thonburi Kingdom, he was succeeded in 1782 by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, the first monarch of the Chakri dynasty and founder of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, which lasted into the early 20th century. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, Siam faced pressure from France and the United Kingdom, including forced concessions of territory, but it remained the only Southeast Asian country to avoid direct Western rule. Following a bloodless revolution in 1932, Siam became a constitutional monarchy and changed its official name to "Thailand". While it joined the Allies in World War I, Thailand was an Axis satellite in World War II. In the late 1950s, a military coup revived the monarchy's influential role in politics.
Thailand became a major ally of the United States and played a key anti-communist role in the region. Apart from a brief period of parliamentary democracy in the mid-1970s, Thailand has periodically alternated between democracy and military rule. In the 21st century, Thailand endured a political crisis that culminated in two coups and the establishment of its current and 20th constitution by the military junta. Thailand is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy under a military junta. Thailand is a founding member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations and remains a major ally of the US. Despite its comparatively sporadic changes in leadership, it is considered a regional power in Southeast Asia and a middle power in global affairs. With a high level of human development, the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, the 20th largest by PPP, Thailand is classified as a newly industrialized economy. Thailand the Kingdom of Thailand known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia.
The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens. By outsiders prior to 1949, it was known by the exonym Siam; the word Siam may have originated from Pali or Sanskrit श्याम or Mon ရာမည. The names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word; the word Śyâma is not its origin, but a learned and artificial distortion. Another theory is the name derives from Chinese: "Ayutthaya emerged as a dominant centre in the late fourteenth century; the Chinese called this region Xian, which the Portuguese converted into Siam." A further possibility is that Mon-speaking peoples migrating south called themselves'syem' as do the autochthonous Mon-Khmer-speaking inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula. The signature of King Mongkut reads SPPM Mongkut Rex Siamensium, giving the name "Siam" official status until 24 June 1939 when it was changed to Thailand. Thailand was renamed to Siam from 1946 to 1948. According to George Cœdès, the word Thai means "free man" in the Thai language, "differentiating the Thai from the natives encompassed in Thai society as serfs".
A famous Thai scholar argued that Thai means "people" or "human being", since his investigation shows that in some rural areas the word "Thai" was used instead of the usual Thai word "khon" for people. According to Michel Ferlus, the ethnonyms Thai/Tai would have evolved from the etymon *kri:'human being' through the following chain: *kəri: > *kəli: > *kədi:/*kədaj > *di:/*daj > *dajA > tʰajA2 or > tajA2. Michel Ferlus' work is based on some simple rules of phonetic change observable in the Sinosphere and studied for t
Field Marshal Phin Choonhavan was a Thai military leader and Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand. Phin was a leader of several coups against the government, most notably the 1947 coup. During the Second World War, he commanded the Phayap Army's 3rd Division before being made military governor of the Shan States, which Thailand had occupied during the Burma Campaign. Phin was the son of a Chinese physician, Kai who migrated to Siam from Chaoshan, as was the father of his wife, Lim Hong, an immigrant from Shantou, his son, Chatichai Choonhavan, became Prime Minister of Thailand. His daughter, married Phao Sriyanond, director general of the Thai police. Another daughter, married Pramarn Adireksarn, who served as deputy prime minister in several governments. Paul M. Handley, "The King Never Smiles" Yale University Press: 2006, ISBN 0-300-10682-3
Prime Minister of Thailand
The Prime Minister of Thailand is the head of government of Thailand. The prime minister is the chair of the Cabinet of Thailand; the post has existed since the Revolution of 1932, when the country became a constitutional monarchy. Prior to the coup d'état, the prime minister is nominated by a vote in the Thai House of Representatives by a simple majority, is appointed and sworn-in by the King of Thailand; the house's selection is based on the fact that either the prime minister is the leader of the largest political party in the lower house or the leader of the largest coalition of parties. In accordance with the constitution, the prime minister can only be appointed twice and is therefore limited to a maximum of two consecutive terms; the post of Prime Minister is held by Retired General Prayut Chan-o-cha, since the coup d'état on 22 May 2014. The office of the "President of the People's Committee" changed to "Prime Minister of Siam", was first created in the Temporary Constitution of 1932.
The office was modeled after the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, as Siam became a parliamentary democracy in 1932 after a bloodless revolution. However the idea of a separate head of government in Thailand is not new. Prior to 1932 Thailand was ruled by absolute monarchs, who acted as both the head of state and the government. However, during the middle and latter reigns of the Chakri Dynasty, several individuals were perceived to hold a post equivalent to a head of government. During the reign of King Mongkut, Somdet Chao Phraya Si Suriyawongse had a significant role in an otherwise absolutist system. During the reign of King Chulalongkorn, Prince Damrong Rajanubhab took over this role. In fact, the office most considered the precursor of that of the prime minister was the ancient office of Samuha Nayok, run by an Akkhra Maha Senabodi or "chief minister in charge of civilian affairs"; the first Prime Minister of Siam was a judge. The title of the office was changed from "Prime Minister of Siam" to "Prime Minister of Thailand" in 1945 and permanently with the renaming of Siam to Thailand in 1949.
For most of its existence the office has been occupied by Army leaders. Military dominance began with the country's second Prime Minister, Phot Phahonyothin, who ousted his civilian predecessor in a coup in 1933; the longest serving Prime Minister was Field Marshal Plaek Pibulsonggram at 14 years, 11 months and 18 days. The shortest was Tawee Boonyaket at just 18 days. Nine were removed by coups d'état, three were disqualified by court order, eleven resigned from office; the youngest to occupy office was M. R. Seni Pramoj at 40 years old. Thailand received its first female prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, in 2011; every prime minister since Manopakorn Nititada has been Buddhist. The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand must be a member of the House of Representatives. Therefore, the qualifications for the office of prime minister are the same as the qualifications for membership in the house. Prior to the coup d'état, to be appointed, the nominee for the office must have the support of one-fifth of the members of the House of Representatives.
After a simple-majority vote in the house, a resolution will be passed and submitted to the king, who will make a formal appointment by giving his royal assent to the resolution. This must take place within thirty days after the beginning of the first session of the House of Representatives after an election. If no candidate can be found within this time period it is the duty of the President of the National Assembly of Thailand to submit the name considered most worthy for the king to formalize; the nominee and eventual prime minister is always the leader of the largest political party in the lower house or the leader of the majority coalition formed after an election. Under the current junta, the nominee for the office is selected by National Legislative Assembly, with the House of Representatives being abolished; the prime minister is the de facto chair of the Cabinet of Thailand. The appointment and removal of ministers can only be made with their advice; as the leader of the government the prime minister is therefore responsible for the failings and performance of their ministers and the government as a whole.
The prime minister cannot hold office for a consecutive period of more than eight years. As the most visible member of the government the prime minister represents the country abroad and is the main spokesperson for the government at home; the prime minister must, under the constitution, lead the cabinet in announcing the government's policy statement in front of a joint-session of the National Assembly, within fifteen days of being sworn-in. The prime minister is directly responsible for many departments; these include the National Intelligence Agency, the Bureau of the Budget, the Office of the National Security Council, the Office of the Council of State, the Office of the Civil Service Commission, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board, the Office of Public Sector Development Commission, the Internal Security Operations Command. Legislatively all money bills introduced in the National Assembly must require the prime minister's approval; the prime minister can be removed by a vote of no confidence.
This process can be evoked, firstly with the vote of only one-fifth of the members of the House of Representatives for a debate on the matter. After the debate a vote is taken and with a simple majority the prime minister can be removed; this process cannot be re
Siamese coup d'état of 1947
The Siamese coup d'état of 1947 was a Thai coup d'état that happened on the evening of 7 November 1947, ending in the early hours of the morning on 8 November. The coup ousted the government of Rear Admiral Thawan Thamrongnawasawat, replaced by Khuang Aphaiwong as Prime Minister of Thailand; the coup was led by Colonel Kat Katsongkhram. On August 1, 1944, as the Allies were winning the Second World War, the pro-Japanese strongman Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram was forced by parliament to resign his premiership, he was replaced by Khuang Aphaiwong, a civilian who had the backing of Pridi Phanomyong, regent for the absent King Ananda Mahidol and head of the Seri Thai underground resistance. For the next three years civilian cabinets, led behind the scenes by Pridi, governed the kingdom. For a brief while the various elements of the anti-Phibun coalition – Pridi and his supporters in the bureaucracy, politicians from the north-east, conservative royalists – retained their unity. All hoped to see constitutional government succeed, all feared a resurgence of the military.
Having established a civilian government, Khuang resigned in August 1945 to make way for a better qualified person to negotiate with the allies. The most obvious choice was the leader of the American-based Seri Thai, Seni Pramot, who Pridi invited to become prime minister. In January 1946, Seni resigned and asked for the dissolution of parliament to pave the way for elections. Khuang and his new royalist allies were elected to power, but because Pridi chose to support Direk Chaiyanam as his personal candidate, Khuang included none of the former regent's allies in his cabinet, but placed many of his opponents, including Seni. Pridi's followers sought revenge, continually harassing the government, further intensifying the bitterness between themselves and the conservatives. Within six weeks Khuang abruptly resigned, forcing Pridi to reluctantly step in and risk his personal prestige. Up until the resignation of his wartime ally, Pridi had enjoyed the prestige of his position as a senior statesman without having to involve himself in everyday politics.
Pridi's failure to control inflation tarnished his reputation for competence, while official corruption bedevilled his governments. On the June 9, 1946, the 20-year-old King Ananda Mahidol, who had restored popularity to the monarchy, was found dead in his bedroom with a gunshot to the head. Khuang and the royalists who dominated their newly formed Democrat Party were quick to blame Pridi, spreading the rumour that the prime minister and his supporters had assassinated the monarch for their own political purposes and to establish a republic. Conservative newspapers criticised the government for failing to protect the monarchy, provoking Pridi to use repressive measures: he declared a state of emergency, censored newspapers, arrested two editors and two opposition MPs. In an attempt to preserve his political influence, Pridi resigned on August 21, 1946, he was replaced five days by Rear Admiral Thamrong, who would serve as Pridi's front man. Rear Admiral Thamrong’s government was soon engulfed in scandals.
Thamrong confided to US Ambassador Edwin F. Stanton that the evidence gathered during investigations of the regicide implicated King Bhumibol in his late King's murder. In a declassified US State Department memo, Ambassador Stanton noted: Luang Thamrong said speaking quite confidentially the evidence, accumulated while he was Prime Minister tended to implicate the present young King, but that he would never have dared to hint by any official action that such was the case. Luang Thamrong noted that Bhumibol would abdicate if it was revealed that he was involved in the regicide and that this would cause "confusion and wild intrigue"; those next in the line of succession to the throne, Prince Chumbhotbongs Paribatra and Prince Bhanubandhu Yugala, were both unpopular and he thought they would not be able to ascend to the throne. Luang Thamrong doubted whether the murder would be cleared up inasmuch as he felt Siam could not dispense with the monarchy. Thamrong's government was faced with charges of corruption, stemming from a government program to hand out free shovels and spades to rural farmers.
The farming equipment brought and handed out was sub-standard. The scandal became known as the “Eating from shovels Scandal”; this many other scandals led to the debate and a vote of no confidence, all called for by the Democrats, Thamrong survived it. When asked by a journalist the Prime Minister joked that he was: “already sleeping for a coup”, confident at the time that he had the backing of the Military: the entire Army behind him, he was wrong; the coup was led by Colonel Kard Kardsonggram. Other members of the group were: Police General Phao Sriyanond, Colonel Sarit Dhanarajata, Colonel Thanom Kittikachorn, Lieutenant Colonel Praphas Charusathien, Captain Chatichai Choonhavan, they called themselves the National Soldier’s Committee. The plotters planned the coup to begin at 5:00 a.m. on the 8 November, however their plot was discovered days earlier by the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, who in an effort to thwart the attempt ordered all senior officers to report for duty at the Army Headquarters instantly.
The plotters therefore changed their plans decided to begin their operations at about 11:00 p.m. on the 7 November inste
Royal Thai Armed Forces
The Royal Thai Armed Forces is the name of the military of the Kingdom of Thailand. It consists of the following branches: Royal Thai Army Royal Thai Navy Royal Thai Marine Corps Royal Thai Air Force Other Paramilitary ForcesThe Head of the Thai Armed Forces is King of Thailand, however this position is only nominal; the armed forces are ostensibly managed by the Ministry of Defense of Thailand, headed by the minister of defence and commanded by the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, which in turn is headed by the Chief of Defence Forces of Thailand. The army commander in chief is considered the most powerful position in the Thai Armed Forces; the Royal Thai Armed Forces Day is celebrated on 18 January to commemorate the victory of King Naresuan the Great in battle against the Crown Prince of Burma in 1593. The Royal Thai Armed Forces main role is the protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Thailand; the armed forces are charged with the defence of the monarchy of Thailand against all threats and domestic.
Apart from these roles, the armed forces have responsibilities ensuring public order and participating in social development programs by aiding the civilian government. The armed forces are charged with assisting victims of national disasters and drug control; some critics have contended that, in reality, the Thai armed forces serve two main functions: a) internal security: to safeguard ruling class hegemony from challenges by mass movements to expand the democratic space, b) to satisfy the self-enrichment goals of the upper echelons of the Thai military. In recent years the Royal Thai Armed Forces have begun increasing its role on the international stage by providing peacekeeping forces to the United Nations, in the International Force for East Timor, from 1999 to 2002. and participating in the multinational force in Iraq, contributing 423 personnel from 2003 to 2004. As of 2015, the Royal Thai Armed Forces had 357,000 active duty and 375,349 reserve personnel, representing 1 percent of Thailand's population of 70 million.
This percentage is lower than that of nearby Vietnam. The Thai military has a bloated number for a military of its size. By comparison, the US military as of April 2011 had 964 flag officers for a force several times the size of Thailand's. On 2 May 2015 1,043 new flag officers of all three services promoted in 2014-2015 took the oath of allegiance, it is not clear. According to one observer, each Thai general has three aims: to align himself with politicians of the right political party. According to the Constitution of the Kingdom, serving in the armed forces is a national duty of all Thai citizens. In practice, only males over the age of 21 who have not gone through reserve training are subject to conscription; the enlistment draft is held in early-April annually. On the draftee selection day, those who are called up for the draft report to their selection center at 0700 in the morning. During roll call, eligible draftees can request to volunteer to serve, or they may choose to stay for the lottery.
Those who volunteer undergo physical and mental health examinations including a urine test for drugs. The results of the urine test for drugs are entered into a Narcotics Control Board database. Of the first 182,910 men entered in the database, 12,209 men, or 6.7 percent, tested positive for drugs: 11,139 for methamphetamine, 750 for marijuana, the remainder for other drugs. Over 3,000 of those who tested positive will serve in the military where they will receive drug rehabilitation treatment; those who tested positive, but who were not drafted, will undergo a 13-day rehabilitation regimen in their home provinces. Those who do not pass the physical and mental health examinations are promptly discharged; the enlisting volunteers choose the service branch and the reporting date of their choice, receive documentation of the year's draft selection, a enlistment order to report for basic training with notification details of the reporting time and location. The enlistees are dismissed for the day until the enlistment day that they have to report for basic training.
After the enlisting volunteers are dismissed for the day, the lottery process begins. Each selection center has a set quota, the number of individuals conscripted through the lottery at each selection center will be the quota subtracted by the number of volunteers; those who choose to proceed with the lottery undergo the same physical and mental health exams as the volunteers, with the same procedure for dismissal for those who do not pass the health exams. Each man who stays for the lottery draws a card out of an opaque box; those who draw a black card are discharged from their military service requirement and are issued the letter of exemption. Those who draw a red card are required to serve in the branch starting from the induction date as specified on the card; those with higher educational qualification can request reduction of service obligation. In 2018, the Royal Thai Armed Forces called up more than 500,000 men for selection; the combined quota was 104,000 men: 80,000 men for the Royal Thai Army, 16,000 for the Royal Thai Navy, 8,700 for the Royal Thai Air Force.
On selection day, there were 44,800 men. After acc