Wednesday, November 25, 2009

PAO elections in 2004

While reading the book Thaksin : the business of politics in Thailand on the political system of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, one short section fits into the topic of this blog. It is on the spread of party politics into the local elections. In the past, the political parties in Thailand were only active in the national elections, while in the local elections for the municipal or provincial councils it had only local groups without any official party label or affiliation.

In 2003, local teams started to use the TRT (Thai Rak Thai) party label, though the party had the policy of not running in local elections. This policy was lifted by party leader Thaksin in December 2003, so the PAO elections in early 2004 were the first to have widespread use of party labels. Also, the interest in these elections grew a lot, since the budget and tasks of the PAO was increased a lot - for example local road construction and other infrastructure development was transferred to the authority of the PAOs.

Though the party label was used in these elections, in several provinces it had more than one group using the label of the same party, the major parties did not hav a team in every province, and teams without party affiliation were also running. The results were
  • Thai Rak Thai: 47 provinces
  • Democratic Party: 13 provinces
  • Chat Thai: 5 provinces
  • Chat Phatthana: 2 provinces
  • Independent: 7 provinces
Strangely, this sums up to 74 provinces, but there are 75 PAO as Bangkok does not have one. The book also displays a map which I have redrawn, but this is also fauly - Bangkok is drawn as a TRT province despite having no PAO, and the province of Samut Songkhram is missing in the map completely. As I don't have the source data used to create that map I simply left Samut Songkhram empty same as Bangkok. For the 2008 PAO elections I don't know any results by party, except that unsurprisingly Surat Thani remained a Democratic Party stronghold.


Anonymous said...

That map is living proof that every thing can be bought in the Kleptocracy of Thailand.

Andy said...

Don't forget that 2004 was at the height of the Thaksin administration - 2005 was his big success at being reelected -, so it is not that surprising that TRT did do so well in their strongholds in the North and Northeast. While I have no doubts that vote-buying did take place in these elections, even without them the map would not look that much different.

Anonymous said...

Well, let's put it this way then. It would still be dominated by store-bought voters - regardless of which party was doing the buying. Truth be told, I don't hold a flag for any of them. Added to which voters only ever have the choice of korrupt or corrupt.