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Prime Minister of Thailand
นายกรัฐมนตรีแห่งราชอาณาจักรไทย
Flag of the Prime Minister of Thailand.svg
Standard of the Prime Minister
Incumbent
Abhisit Vejjajiva

since 17 December 2008
Appointer Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)
as the King of Thailand
Term length Same as the term of the House of Representatives (4 years), no more than 8 consecutive years total
Inaugural holder Phraya Manopakorn Nititada
Formation Constitution of Thailand,
28 June 1932
Website www.pm.go.th
Thailand

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



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The Prime Minister of Thailand (Thai: นายกรัฐมนตรีแห่งราชอาณาจักรไทย, Na-Yok Ratha Montri Haeng Ratcha Anachak Thai) is the head of government of Thailand. The Prime Minister is also the chairman of the Cabinet of Thailand. The post has been in existence since the Revolution of 1932, when the country became a constitutional monarchy.

The Prime Minister is appointed by a vote in the Thai House of Representatives by a simple majority, he is then officially sworn-in and endorsed by the King of Thailand. His selection is usually based on the fact that he is either 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 current incumbent is Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democrat Party, since 17 December 2008.[1]

Contents

History

The office of the "President of the People’s Committee" (ประธานคณะกรรมการราษฎร), later changed to "Prime Minister of Siam" (นายกรัฐมนตรี), 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 very 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 Na Yok (สมุหนายก), which was ran by an Akra Maha Senabodi (อัครมหาเสนาบดี) or Chief Minister in charge of civilian affairs.

The first Prime Minister of Siam was Phraya Manopakorn Nititada a civil servant and lawyer. The title of the office changed from "Prime Minister of Siam" to "Prime Minister of Thailand" in 1945 and then permanently with the renaming of Siam to Thailand in 1949. For most of its existence the office has been occupied by Army leaders; fifteen out of twenty-seven. Beginning with the country's second Prime Minister: Phot Phahonyothin, who ousted his 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 only just 18 days.[2] Nine were removed by coups d'état, two were disqualified by court order, and eleven resigned from office. The youngest ever to occupy office was M.R. Seni Pramoj at 40 years old. Every Prime Minister since Phraya Manopakorn Nititada has been Buddhist.

Appointment

The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand must be a member of the House of Representatives of Thailand[3]. Therefore the qualifications for the office is the same as the qualifications for the House.

To be appointed the nominee for the office must have the support of one-fifth of the members of the House of Representatives. Then after a simple-majority vote in the House, a resolution will be passed and submitted to the King of Thailand, who will then make a formal appointment by giving his royal assent to the resolution. This must be done within thirty days of the beginning of the first session of the House of Representatives after an election. If no candidate can be found within this time then it is the duty of the President of the National Assembly of Thailand to submit the name he considers 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.

Office Name Party Vote in House Appointment
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Democrat Party 15 December 2008 17 December 2008

Function

The Prime Minister is the de facto chairman of the Cabinet of Thailand. The appointment and removal of Ministers can only be made with his advice. As the leader of the government the Prime Minister is therefore ultimately responsible for the failings and performance of his 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 represent the country abroad as well as 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.[4]

The Prime Minister is also 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 and 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. Then after the debate a vote will be taken and with a simple majority the Prime Minister can be removed. This process cannot be repeated within one parliamentary session.

Office and Residence

The Prime Minister is aided in his work by the Office of the Prime Minister (สำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี) a Cabinet level Department headed usually by two Minister of State. These offices are housed in the Government House of Thailand (ทำเนียบรัฐบาล) in the Dusit area of Bangkok.

The official residence of the Prime Minister is Baan Phitsanulok (บ้านพิษณุโลก) or Phitsanulok House, also at the center of Bangkok. The house was build during the reign of King Vajiravudh, it became an official place of residence in 1979. The House is however rumored to have many ghosts, therefore most Prime Ministers live at their own private residences and only use the house for official business.

Deputy Prime Minister

Several Deputy Prime Ministers of Thailand (รองนายกรัฐมนตรี) can be appointed. This position can be combined with other ministerial portfolios.

Office Name Party Appointment
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban Democrat Party 22 December 2008
Deputy Prime Minister Korbsak Sabhavasu Democrat Party 22 December 2008
Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kajornprasart Chart Thai Pattana 22 December 2008

List of Prime Ministers

The Standard of the Prime Minister of Thailand
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Living former Prime Ministers

References

See also

External links


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