Friday, November 17, 2017

Tambon Councils

One administrative unit I very much neglected so far are the Tambon Councils (สภาตำบล), both because they were just a council consisting only of ex-officio or appointed members with a very limited power, but also because the only Royal Gazette announcements I found on them so far were the conversions into the subdistrict administrative organizations in the 1990s - the last Tambon Council ceased to exist in 2004.

Just recently a newly created page on a municipality in the Thai Wikipedia also included a reference to the initial creation of the local government unit as a Tambon Council, and by that I could now finally add the Royal Gazette announcements establishing these units.
  • Revolutionary Act 326 issued December 13 1973 gave the legal definition of the Tambon Councils, and if I understand the text right also abolished all the previously existing subdistrict administrative organizations. Not sure yet whether these were also directly converted into Tambon Councils then.
  • Creation of Tambon Councils 1973 [Gazette], containing a list of about 2000 councils created
  • Creation of Tambon Councils 1974 [Gazette], containing a list of 931 councils created
  • Creation of Tambon Councils 1975 [Gazette], creating the councils for all remaining subdistricts which are not completely within other local government units. Apparently all the subdistricts created after 1975 then got their council together automatically when they were set up.
I started to work through those two announcements with lists, and only did the province Surat Thani so far, but already there were two strange things showing up. The Tambon Council for Thung subdistrict in Chaiya was listed in both the 1973 and 1974 announcement, and I haven't seen any correction announcement to either of the two. The history page at the website of the TAO Thung, though very long, doesn't mention the administrative history, so it offers no help on which date is the correct one. The second one is a strange case which I already stumbled upon when working through the list of Tambon Council upgrades to subdistrict administrative organizations. In 1995 the Tambon Council for Bang Kung was upgraded to a TAO, and now I also found that this council was created in 1974. The strange thing - the whole area of Bang Kung belongs to Surat Thani municipality, and already did in 1974, so there shouldn't be any second local government there. Also, the TAO is never mentioned anymore, neither listed in any of the current lists, nor was it ever officially abolished. Also Google searches for สภาตำบลบางกุ้ง or องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบางกุ้ง only give results for the same-named units in Trang and Suphanburi province, thus no indication what happened in Surat Thani- it looks like a mistake which was not noticed for many years then quietly deleted from any lists. The oldest list I found is from 2007 - mirrored by the Wayback Machine from the old DOPA website - already omits it.


Unknown said...

Good day.. May I inquire if women can be elected head or members
of tambons or muban?

Andreas Hörstemeier said...

Yes, women are eligible to be elected as village head(wo)men or Kamnan, as well as for any of the local government councils, or as mayors. But it is still very much male-dominated, though I don't have the actual numbers. And at least for the village headmen, if I remember right it was only introduced in the 1990s. A very good read about that topic is "Women in Politics in Thailand" by Kazuki Iwanaga.