Thailand Political Culture Essay Research Paper INTRODUCTIONFor — страница 3

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The Premier holds the term of 4 years. Thailand’s National Assembly (Rathasapha) is bicameral with the Upper (Senate) or Wuthisapha and Lower (Congress) House or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon. The Senate is composed of 200 members (as of March 2000) who are replaced every 6 years; of whom are chosen by the Prime Minister. Congress, on the other hand, is composed of 500 members (as of March 2000), replaced every 4 years and is elected by the people. The Senate President is considered to be the President of the National Assembly while the Speaker of the House, the Vice-President. There are no elections in the country except for the one choosing the House of Representatives. The monarchy is hereditary while the Prime Minister is chosen from among the members of the House of

Representatives. So, whichever party has majority in the House of Representatives has the greater chance of getting to be the Prime Minister Thailand’s political parties were severely restricted for several decades following the 1932 change of government but have multiplied since that time. Many parties serve as the personal political machines of individuals or small groups, and few represent defined ideologies. More than a dozen parties contested the elections of 1996. Among the most prominent were the centrist Democrat (Prachathipat) Party; the New Aspiration Party of former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh; and the Chat Thai (Thai Nation) Party, associated with the military. Thailand’s judiciary is composed of the Supreme Court, highest court of law in the country.

Under it is the Court of Appeals and also magistrate’s courts and provincial courts. The country is also a member of many different international organizations such as the UN, and other UN agencies like the IMF, UNESCO, FAO and ASEAN. A PEEK INTO THAILAND’S PAST . . . The First Kingdom People have lived in what is now Thailand for at least 20,000 years, with groups migrating from India and southern China about 4,000 years ago, and more recently from Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia. In many ways, though, the history of Thailand (known as Siam until 1939) can be said to begin with the founding of the independent kingdom of Sukhothai in 1238. This period of great cultural growth lasted just a century, a time during which the tiny kingdom absorbed elements of neighboring cultures.

From China came fine potters who established the famous kilns at Sawankhalok, and contact occurred with India via the trade route. From Cambodia, Thailand absorbed elements of administration as well as architecture. When King Ramathibodi assumed the throne in 1350, he moved his kingdom to Ayuthaya – one of the world’s most fertile areas, situated where three great tributaries join to form the mighty Chao Phraya River. The Ayuthaya kingdom flourished during the next four centuries, conquering Cambodia and the surviving states in the north. Foreign Influence During the 17th century, the country opened its door to the West, establishing contact with England, Denmark, Japan, and France. Trade flourished; Siam had its place in the world and was known for its fine cloth, spices,

metals, and semiprecious stones. The Burmese, who had waged war with Siam almost continually since the 15th century, sacked Ayuthaya in 1767. The days of the Burmese overlords were numbered however, and their reign was shortly terminated when General Phya Tak proclaimed himself king. When the general, who became known as Taksin the Great, was executed by his ministers in 1782, the crown passed to General Chao Phya Chakri, who took the name Rama I. The founder of the present dynasty of Thai kings, he moved his capital to the eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River and named it Krung Thep – Bangkok. Rama I reined for some 27 years and successfully kept the Burmese at bay. The British and Thai governments concluded a commercial treaty in 1826. Because of the rights and privileges

obtained by this agreement, British influence increased in Thailand throughout the remainder of the 19th century. However, the statesmanship of King Mongkut (fictionalized in The King and I and Anna and the King of Siam) and his son King Chulalongkorn the Great enabled Thailand to avoid the fate of colonization that befell its neighbors, although the negotiations ended up costing Thailand a great deal of territory. The World Wars Siam entered World War I (1914-18) on the side of the Allies in July 1917 and subsequently became a founding member of the League of Nations. In June 1932 a small group of Thai military and political leaders organized a successful revolt against the absolute monarchy. Supported by Japan, the new government negotiated with France the return of territory