Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Province level decentralization

In the article "Problems with Decentralization" by Michael H. Nelson (found in the KIP yearbook 2001) I learned about another planned administrative change which wasn't done. The 1997 constitution, which mandated the parliament to decentralize the administration, included the following clause in section 78, point 3
as well as develop into a large-size local government organization a province ready for such purpose, having regard to the will of the province in that province.
Now, I knew the election of provincial governors was discussed in past, but obviously not done, except in the special administrative area of Bangkok. Though the article does not go into the details of what was actually planned - maybe it was never explicitly stated anyway - this in effect would have meant something like a merge of the PAO with the provincial administration by the Ministry of Interior into a single entity, with an elected council and governor. Quite similar to what was done when the special administrative area of Bangkok was created in 1972. This new kind of provincial administration was set to be tested at a few provinces at first, among them Phuket.

Now after reading this, the reference to a special administrative status for Phuket I found earlier makes much more sense. Unlike what is apparently planned for Ko Samui and Mae Sot, the plan for Phuket referred to there was not about special municipalities modeled after Pattaya, but instead a province administration modeled after the special administrative area of Bangkok. But it seems both the rather centralist Thaksin administration as well as the abolish of the 1997 constitution after the 2006 coup have shelved any such plans. The only resurfaced in some of the proposals for solving the insurgency in the deep south.


john francis lee said...

Thank you for the references.

john francis lee said...

I was sure I commented that the Nelson work cited is not one that can be downloaded after all.

I did find Thailand: Decentralization, or What Next, and thought I had reported so here... but I don't see it lo these several days later.

It is a good read.