Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dissolved PAO councils

When I wrote about the 2004 elections for the Provincial Administrative Organizations (PAO) councils and chairmen, I mentioned that for Buriram the election did take place some months earlier, but couldn't explain that in detail. Now while trying to follow the PAO elections this year and compiling information on the previous elections, I could finally make more sense out of it.

The first elections for the Provincial Administrative Organizations (PAO) under the 1997 PAO act took place on February 5 2000 in all provinces - already except Buriram which had that election on September 7 1999. Another four year before, there were elections for PAO councils on December 24, though these were still PAO as defined by the Provincial Administration act. When the 1997 PAO act came into effect, these councils were converted into the new style PAO without a new election, so all of the council ended their term December 23 1999. All except Buriram, because that PAO council was the first one which was dissolved before its nominal end of term and then had early elections.

With a list of local governments ending their terms in 2008 I was able to reconstruct all the PAO election dates in 2004 - only Buriram and Kanchanaburi were missing in that table. Buriram had its election already on December 14 2003, but for Kanchanaburi I was able to find that there were elections on March 14 2004 and then again on February 2 2008, thus before the end of the four year term. It took me some time on Google to find an old news report explaining this odditiy - the council was dissolved on September 10 2007, but for whatever reason the election did not take place within the normal 60 days after the dissolution.

This year the PAO elections have been spread over the whole year thanks to the Election Commissions of some provinces taking long time to prepare new constituency definitions - if I am not mistaken Samut Prakan and Kanchanaburi even have no scheduled election date yet nor have their constituencies announced. This makes it much more complicate to follow than with one or two election dates, so I almost missed the third case of a dissolved council. The PAO of Surat Thani was elected on April 20 2008, and had its election this year on June 24, only slightly after the 45 days which would have been the deadline after a normal term end. However, it turned out that in fact the council was dissolved on December 16 2011, and it took six months to have the election due to the need of new constituencies boundaries - the council was enlarged from 30 to 36 seats because of the population in the province surpassing 100,000 since 2010.

I haven't yet read the PAO act to check what are the reasons why a council can be dissolved, but from what I found in the reports on the three cases mentioned above it seems that the dissolution was caused by the council not being able to agree on a budget.

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