Friday, December 27, 2013

Municipal area transfer in Rayong

On Monday, the change of the boundaries of two adjoining municipalities in Rayong province was announced in the Royal Gazette. Choeng Noen (เทศบาลตำบลเชิงเนิน), located north and east of Rayong city [Gazette] and Noen Phra (เทศบาลตำบลเนินพระ), located west of Rayong city [Gazette] are connected by a narrow area running parallel north of Sukhumvit road. I wasn't able to find a map of the original municipality boundaries, but it is possible to get them by the Tambon. Both municipalities were originally TAOs covering the same-named Tambon, except those area which are covered by Rayong city, and in 1998 the boundaries of the Tambon in Mueang Rayong district were officially defined [Gazette]. Though the boundaries are only defined in written text and not as a map, by comparing the coordinates it seems that in fact the two Tambon have no adjoining area, being separated by the city of Rayong. Thus the with the announcements now, Choeng Noen gained some area west of Rayong city, with a very narrow connection of the newly gained area north of Rayong city.

The interesting question is whether this change for the municipal boundaries will also cause an adjustment of the subdistrict boundaries, to keep the two municipalities within their original Tambon.

I have tried to turn the main part of the two maps within the announcements into a single Google map, the pink boundary is the area which I believe was added to Choen Noen.

View Choeng Noen, Noen Phra in a larger map

Friday, December 20, 2013

Busy times

To my shame I have neglected the blog in the last month, mostly because I was very busy with working through issues which not directly could be made into a blog post.

One big task has reached another milestone - I finally finished to add the election dates in 2004 which I could deduce from a PDF by the Election Commission listing the term ends of 2008. I now have little over 19,000 council elections in the XML, and a somewhat smaller number of mayor elections since I only added them if I have the name of the mayor, or the term differs from the council term. But sadly the elections aren't done completely yet, this year had another 3,500 local elections. Though there is no concise collective result, at least a good part could be found on the various pages of the province branches of the Election Commission. I am still working on adding those, so more on that in a separate blog posting.

The other task started with my "discovery" of Wikidata. I have now worked through all the Wikipedia articles on the administrative subdivisions and added the ID at Wikidata to all the corresponding entries in my XML. This included several merges of Wikidata entries, where two language editions of Wikipedia had an article but those were not joined yet. Also, some had to be split, the good old confusion between district or subdistrict and the local governments (cities, towns). Now there are 2362 Wikidata items, almost all correspond to at least one Wikipedia article. The next steps are now the programming of a bot to fill these items with statements - I have started and succeeded with a few test edits, but the library to access Wikidata with C# needs a lot of rework before it becomes really usable - so another work to do. At least I have to do some programming, not just XML editing... I detailed analysis of the Wikipedia article I found during this inventory will be posted later, and of course will keep you updated once the TambonBot starts operating.
I wish all my readers a happy Christmas and a good new year, hope I can return to the more regular posting after the holidays.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

New license plate graphics

A week ago, five new provincial license plate graphics were announced in the Royal Gazette.
  • Trat [Gazette]
    The graphic refers to the Franco-Thai war (1940-41), more specifically the battle of Ko Chang on January 17 1941. Three Thai ships were sunk during the battle, thus probably the ships to the right in the graphic are depicting the HTMS Chonburi, HTMS Songkhla and HTMS Thonburi.
    This seems to be first design for a license plate for Trat, there were no previous designs announced.
  • Phetchabun [Gazette]
    To the left of the design are the fruits of the Tamarind tree, an important local product of Phetchabun province. The tamarind is also the provincial symbol tree for Ühetchabun. The star above and next to the tamarind fruits refers to the name of the province - Phetcha (เพชร) means diamond. The temple on the hill to the right is Wat Phra Son Kaeo (วัดพระธาตุผาแก้ว), one of the most spectacular Buddhist temples in the province.
    While the tamarind was present in the 2005 and 2009 designs as well, the temple was newly added, also the background was made much more colorful than before.
  • Amnat Charoen [Gazette]
    To the right are rice ears, as (sticky) rice is the major agricultural product of the province. The flowers to the right are from the Butea monosperma tree, the symbol flower of the province. The background shows Khit cloth, a traditional woven fabric still produced in the traditional way in some areas of the Northeast, including Amnat Charoen.
    This seems to be first design for a license plate for Amnat Charoen, there were no previous designs announced.
  • Chiang Mai [Gazette]
    As the 10 year loan of the to Panda to Chiang Mai Zoo has ended, the new license plate graphic - unlike the previous one from 2011 - no longer show any Panda. Again, Butea monosperma flowers are depicted, as this is also the provincial flower for Chiang Mai (and also Udon Thani and Lamphun). On the hill in the background the temple Wat Prathat Doi Saket is shown, one of the most famous temples in Thailand. To the left is a traditional Lanna house, with two Thais celebrating Songkhran by splashing with water. At the river another two persons celebrate Loi Krathong by floating the little candle boats. I am just not sure which temple is shown in the middle of the graphic.
  • Maha Sarakham [Gazette]
    Again, Khit cloth is shown, as it is also a local product for Maha Sarakham. The flowers on top of the cloth are from the provincial flower, the White Frangipani (Plumeria alba). The river is the Chi river. The temple silhouette in the background probably is the pagoda of Wat Phra That Na Dun, located in Na Dun district.
    The 2006 design showed only the cloth and the flower.
As usual, I have added these graphics to the web album, where one can find all the recent graphics and many of the older as well - if times allows I will slowly complete it with all the old ones as well. If there is one specific missing, please let me know. After this announcements, there are still five provinces which seem to have such graphic yet, I don't know whether the announcements were not published in the Royal Gazette, or there is really no such designs yet for Nong Bua Lamphu, Mae Hong Son, Samut Songkhram, Ranong and Yala.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Local governments renamed

Today, four local governments name changes were announced in the Royal Gazette.
  • Nong Saeng subdistrict municipality (เทศบาลตำบลหนองแสง), Wapi Pathum district, Maha Sarakham province renamed to Wapi Pathum (เทศบาลตำบลวาปีปทุม) to match with the name of the district. It also gives the TAO Nong Saeng, which shares the area of the subdistrict Nong Saeng with the municipality, the ability to be upgraded to a municipality without changing name. [Gazette]
  • TAO Huai Thap Mon (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลห้วยทับมอญ), Khao Chamao district, Rayong province, renamed to Khao Chamao (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลเขาชะเมา), as it is the local government unit which contains the district office.
  • TAO Bang Rachan (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลบางระจัน), Khai Bang Rachan district, Singburi province, renamed to Khai Bang Rachan (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลค่ายบางระจัน), as it is the local government unit which contains the district office.
  • TAO Mai Ai (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลแม่อาย), Mae Ai district, Chiang Mai province, renamed to Doi Lang (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลดอยลาง), to avoid confusion with the subdistrict municipality Mae Ai (เทศบาลตำบลแม่อาย), especially once the TAO gets upgraded to a municipality.
All name changes took effect on October 18, the announcements were all signed on September 19 by the deputy minister of interior Pracha Prasobdee (ประชา ประสพดี). And all were discussed by the Board to consider draft laws in their meeting on August 21.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Streetview coverage of the Northeast started

While the systematic Google Streetview coverage is still limited to the provinces around Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and Phuket province as the only province in the South, already with the first batch of Streetview imagery two main roads were included - Phetkasem from Bangkok to Phuket and Phahon Yothin from Bangkok to the North. A similar single roundtrip by a Streetview car now started the coverage in the Northeast.

View Larger Map
Roundabout in Buriram in front of the Province Hall
The Isan roundtrip went through the provincial capitals of Sisaket, Surin, Buriram, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Khon Kaen, Maha Sarakham, Roi Et, Yasothon, Amnat Charoen and Ubon Ratchathani, and another two roads along the Thai-Cambodian border including up to the parking lot of Phreah Vihear. Also the main road along the border in Sa Kaeo and Trat province was added, including the border crossing in Aranyaprathet and Hat Lek.

So quite a lot of new opportunities for armchair traveling in areas less frequented by tourists, however for my task to collect the locations of the administrative offices the full coverage is much more useful, as not all the offices are located directly at the main road.

Monday, October 7, 2013


Many of the Wikipedia articles contain language-independent factlets, which have to be kept up-to-date in each language edition manually. If these factlets are stored at one central place - quite similar to the graphics used in Wikipedia articles which usually come from one separate Commons-Wiki - then these facts will be easily updated without speaking any of the languages of the Wikipedia articles in which they are used. Additionally, factlets organized in a more strict way than the human-readable text of the articles make other automatic processing possible. The Wikidata project does exactly this, more and more of the factlets in the Wikipedia articles can be imported automatically from the Wikidata Wiki.

The administrative subdivisions are one of the prime examples where this concept can be used, facts like the area, the population data, the country or province to which they belong, or the list of subdivisions already make up a good deal of a decent Wikipedia stub article. Especially the data which is displayed in the so-called infoboxes are mostly already includeable from Wikidata. One major thing which is not yet possible in Wikidata are lists, and not yet all of the data I am collecting has corresponding data categories (called properties in Wikidata). And it is a quite tedious work to add more than one factlet at one time manually, so to really get the Thai subdivision well-covered there I would have to learn how to use a bot for automatic editing.

One thing which already is imported completely on Wikidata are the language links to the Wikipedia article in various languages. In fact, every article which is available in more than one Wikipedia now has a corresponding page in Wikidata. Thus I now have added one more data item in my XML files, which can link every subdivision to the corresponding Wikidata page, and I am now slowly adding all the province and districts. And since OpenStreetMap and Wikimapia are another similar Wiki website which also has specific IDs for geographical entities (though one has to be careful to separate the office and the full entity), these are defined in the XSD as well. As an example, the province of Surat Thani now has these two links within the XML, which easily translate to URLs on WikiData and OpenStreetMap.
<entity type="Changwat" name="สุราษฎร์ธานี" english="Surat Thani" geocode="84">
  <wiki wikidata="Q240463" openstreetmap="1908825" /> 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Census 2010

Already four years after the 2010 population and housing census was done in Thailand, finally the results got published by the National Statistics Office. However this announcement is really well hidden on the website of the NSO, their special website for the census did not see any update since 2010, and of course there the page which should give access to the data is still under construction. Thus unlike the 2000 census, there are no free PDF reports or Excel sheets available (yet?), only the printed books for each province and CD-ROM for each province, and those of course not for free.

But funnily the Google web crawler can be very helpful if a webmaster allows it crawl everything - when I was searching for the total population number of one province found in this census, Google returned me the PDF with the final report of that province, containing all the data - probably exactly the same as the printed book. For example for Nakhon Si Thammarat, the final report can be found here. That page seems to be something like a FTP access to the webserver itself, and within that folder one can find the final reports for the 2010 census for all provinces, and the preliminary reports for most province.

I am sure that it wasn't intended to make these PDFs available this way, but at least I now have all the census data in the same accuracy as I have for the 2000 census, just need to work a bit more to extract the numbers from the PDFs than I would have to do with XLS files. I don't know if the links above will continue to work long, if the webmaster ever notices that this is probably a big backdoor also useable to drop spam or malware on that server. Or if (and when) the 2010 data will still get published in the same way as the 2000 data, with XLS and PDFs easily found from the website.

Monday, August 19, 2013

DOPA entity numbers 2013

Though it was already published in April, I didn't noticed the annual list of numbers of the administrative entities until few weeks ago. This latest list as of December 31st 2012 states the following numbers.
  • Provinces (Changwat, จังหวัด): 76
  • Districts (Amphoe, อำเภอ): 878
  • Subdistricts (Tambon, ตำบล): 7255 (though I believe the correct number is 7256)
  • Villages (Muban, หมู่บ้าน): 74,963
  • Provincial administrative organizations (PAO, อบจ): 76
  • Municipalities (Thesaban, เทศบาล): 2266
    • Cities (Thesaban Nakhon, เทศบาลนคร): 29
    • Towns (Thesaban Mueang, เทศบาลเมือง): 167
    • Subdistrict municipalities (Thesaban Tambon, เทศบาลตำบล): 2070
  • Subdistrict administrative organizations (TAO, อบต): 5509
  • Special administrative units (องค์กรปกครองส่วนท้องถิ่นรูปแบบพิเศษ): 2
Compared with the data from 2012, there is of course no change in the central administrative units except seven newly created administrative villages (all where published in the Royal Gazette: one in Chumphon, three in Tak, two in Lampang and one in Yala). The number of municipalities increased a lot again by 184, and will do so in this year as well, so I will skip to check those numbers with my data for now and wait till the list of upgrades for this year is complete.

Friday, August 9, 2013

License plate designs for Satun, Loei and Kamphaeng Phet

End of last year, four license plate graphic designs were announced in the Royal Gazette, however I only showed Bueng Kan in detail then and promised to post about the other later. Well, being busy with other things, this slipped through until I was now asked by email for two of these three.
  • Satun [Gazette]: Since the province is located at the Andaman sea, the graphic shows a beach scene. The rocks in the lower left look like they refer to Hin Ngam island, but for the other two rock structures I am not sure if they refer to a real place or are just an artists impression. However strangely this graphic is identical with the design already announced in 2008, so I don't understand why there was a new announcement.
  • Loei [Gazette]: The design is a variation of the 2007 design [Gazette], still showing the Phu Kradueng hill with its plateau on top, a pine tree in front of the Lom Sak cliff also within Phu Kradueng National Park, and three acorn leaves - which however now look quite different from the ones in 2007. A new element added this time is the Phi Ta Khon mask.
  • Kamphaeng Phet [Gazette]: The design for kamphaeng Phet changes a lot compared with the 2006 design [Gazette], the only element present in both designs are the banana trees. Newly added is a rice plant to the right, a waterfall in the background - probably Khlong Lan waterfall. Most prominently is the city wall, obviously referring to the name of the province which translates to "Diamond Wall".

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How many tambon are there in Thailand?

I always thought that the question on the number of Tambon (subdistrict) is a trivial one, as several government publication list the number of subdivisions, and they all consistently give a number of 7255 (or 7424 if including the subdistricts of Bangkok, which however actually are a different type of administrative unit) - for example the 2012 list from DOPA, or the 2013 list I didn't noticed yet. I never questioned that number, as I thought the department within the Ministry of Interior would know their numbers well.

But now I am in email contact with someone who has compiled his own lists of municipalities and subdistricts, and then cross-checked then with my spreadsheet. Quite helpful, it showed several cases where I had small mistakes within my lists, as well as clearing up some in his lists. He had a few more subdistricts in his list than me, and I also had a subdistrict named Som Kai (ตำบลสมก๋าย) in Chiang Mai listed as an active subdistrict, even though it was one which was not created, but got a the geocode 50061400 assigned already. But after removing that one, I noticed I still have one subdistrict too much - the corresponding sheet had 7425 subdistricts, thus 7256 Tambon.

Checking with the population numbers from DOPA, the additional Tambon stayed, apparently there are 7256 populated Tambon. Next step then was to check with a Excel sheet showing the subdivision numbers for each province, which also had 7255 Tambon altogether - and with that one I could nail it down to be Nakhon Si Thammarat province to have the additional subdistrict. According to that spreadsheet (and several other sources), the province has 169 Tambon - actually a lot of source show a number of 165, even the website of the province administration itself, which is even more wrong. But I have 170 Tambon, and with a 2003 book listing all the Muban I was able to find the culprit - Pak Phanang district is listed there without the subdistrict Pak Phanang (ตำบลปากพนัง). The only thing special about that subdistrict is the fact that it is completely covered by the town Pak Phanang (เทศบาลเมืองปากพนัง), and thus has no subdivision in to Muban anymore, nor any village or subdistrict headmen. But that is not unique to this Tambon, there are several of this kind in larger towns or cities. In fact, the subdistrict was identical with the area of the town until the town was enlarged in 1993 [Gazette].

Center of Pak Phanang district in 2003
With two offices within DOPA contradicting already, I wasn't able to find any more solid proof in either direction. for example includes a map showing the Tambon of Pak Phanang with only 17 Tambon, even the Royal Gazette is no help - obviously there is no announcement abolishing this subdistrict, but an announcement from 2003 defining the boundaries of the subdistricts again only lists 17 subdistrict. Another announcement from the same year however on land expropriation includes a map which shows this subdistrict.

If anyone can help to clear up this confusion I would be happy, so far I can only find that something is very odd around there.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Municipal changes announced

Yesterday, another two municipal changes were announced in the Royal Gazette.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Municipal upgrades announced in the Royal Gazette

Yesterday, two municipal status changes were announced in the Royal Gazette.
  • Wiang Nuea (เทศบาลตำบลเวียงเหนือ), Wiang Chai district, Chiang Rai province was upgraded from a TAO to a subdistrict municipality effective May 21, the date the announcement was signed by Pracha Prasobdee (ประชา ประสพดี), Deputy Minister of the Interior. The change was approved in the board meeting on May 15, making it the first TAO upgrade of this year which made it to the Royal Gazette - though it is not the first TAO upgrade which became effective this year. Wiang Nuea became a TAO in 1997, thus it was upgraded after 4 terms.
  • Pichai (เทศบาลเมืองพิชัย), Mueang Lampang district, Lampang province was upgraded from a subdistrict municipality to a town municipality. Phichai became a sanitary district in 1992, then like all the sanitary districts was upgraded to subdistrict municipality in 1999. The upgrade to a town was effective June 13, the day the terms of the current municipal council and mayor end. It was discussed in the same board meeting as Wiang Nuea, interestingly in that meeting also a rename to Phichai Lampang (พิชัยลำปาง) was discussed, but apparently this name change wasn't done.
It is again strange to see that some municipal changes get announced in the Royal Gazette very quickly - two months after being approved is a normal delay for announcements - but many many other municipal changes never get announced in the Royal Gazette and only get effective by ministerial order.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Same-named districts

While there are only five districts which have a non-unique name in Thailand - the five Chaloem Phra Kiat districts (อำเภอเฉลิมพระเกียรติ) created in various parts of the country in 1996 - there is one apparent case of two districts with the same name in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya province. Two of the 16 districts of the province are named Bang Sai, but in fact the two districts don't have the same name. The origin of this confusion is the romanization system.
  • Bang Sai (บางไทร), the district with geocode 1404, is pronounced with a short ai (in English the same as in the word I) at end. The name means "Banyan tree village".
  • Bang Sai (บางซ้าย), the district with geocode 1413, is pronounced with a long ai sound at end. The name means "left village" - don't know what left side is meant by the name.
The reason why both districts share the same English name despite having a different Thai pronounciation is simply due to the over-simplification done by the RTGS transcription scheme. This system, the official standard of transcribing Thai to English, has left out not just the tone heights but also the distinction between the short and long vowels. While there is another pair of districts which share the same English name despite having different Thai names - Wiang Sa in Surat Thani (เวียงสระ) and in Nan (เวียงสา), again with different vowel lengths at end - what makes the two Bang Sai so confusing is the fact that they are located within the same province quite close to each other. For example, in Wikipedia the only way to get a unique name for the two district was to add the geocode to the name, so the articles are located at Bang Sai District (1404) and Bang Sai District (1413).

Going down one administrative level, there strangely is just one case where two subdistricts within one district share the same romanization - in Fang district there are two subdistricts named Mae Kha, one with a short a and one with a long one. For villages however, it is quite common to have more than one village with the same Thai name within one subdistrict, which is no big problem since the villages are more often identified by their number than by their name.

For municipalities, it gets much more confusing, as there are cases of two municipalities with the same Thai name in one district, which only differ by the municipal level, so only when using name and administrative status together the name becomes unique. I will write a separate blog post on those cases later.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Area transfer in Mae Tuen, Li, Lamphun

Today, the transfer of parts of the TAO Wiang Kaeo (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลเวียงแก้ว) to the subdistrict municipality Mae Tuen (เทศบาลตำบลแม่ตืน) was announced in the Royal Gazette, as usual for these changes in two separate announcements, one for the TAO [Gazette] and one for municipality [Gazette] which then also includes a map with the new boundaries. The change was discussed in the March 13 meeting of board 2 responsible for draft laws in the Ministry of Interior, and the meeting transcript contain some more details on this change.

Mae Tuen and Wiang Kaeo share the subdistrict Mae Tuen - until 2011 the TAO was also named Mae Tuen [Gazette] - and when the sanitary district Mae Tuen was created in 1992 [Gazette] it only covered the most densely populated part of Ban Mae Tuen. With this change parts of the administrative villages 3, 11, 12 and 16 are transferred to the municipality, which now covers the whole northern part of the subdistrict. However, I cannot see whether the municipality now covers these villages completely, or they still are shared between TAO and municipality - that may show in the forthcoming local election for Wiang Kaeo to be held in October this year. If the council gets reduced in size from the 32 councilors it has today (there are 17 Muban, but Mu 3 has no population in the area covered by the TAO) to 26, then its likely that the whole Muban were transferred.

Monday, May 27, 2013

New Thesaban geocodes

Last month, the CCAATT table with the geocodes of the central administrative units, and the RCODE table of geocodes for the registration offices were updated. While there were no changes in the CCAATT table - except that obsolete codes were once again removed from the file - a few municipalities were added to the RCODE table. But since it is impossible to assign a TIS:1099 compatible code to every municipality as long as the municipality codes are at the same level as the district codes, these newly added codes don't reduce the number of municipalities without code significantly. The only other changes in the table to its previous version from March 2012 were several municipal status changes and a few name changes. Interestingly, in Roi Et the strange codes 4568 and 4567 referring to no valid municipality were not re-used, though there were removed from the list in this update. Also, as can be seen be the dates when the municipalities were created, sometimes a municipality created more recently got a code while other upgraded before still have received no code.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Changwat Bua Yai in discussion

Khun Wisarut from the 2bangkok forum has posted some news about the re-emergence of the plan to split off some part of Nakhon Ratchasima province. Since Khorat is such a big province, both by area (20494 km², the largest of all provinces) and by population, with 2.6 million it is second after Bangkok. And also by the number of districts it would make sense to split off some of the 32 districts to make a new province.

The situation is quite opposite with Ubon Ratchathani - whereas Khorat was never changed since its creation as Boriwen Nakhon Ratchasima in 1899 [Gazette], Ubon Ratchathani was split twice.
Without these changes, Ubon would be larger than Khorat both by area and by population. Of course there were plans to split off parts of Khorat in past, the one most advanced was the 1955 plan to split off Bua Yai and Phutthaisong from Buriram to make a new province to be named Pathom Thong, which however was halted after the 1957 coup. The latest attempt was now started by Phuea Thai MP Koson Patthama (นายโกศล ปัทมะ) from Nakhon Ratchasima constituency 5, which includes Bua Yai district. There is however a significant opposition to this plan, most significantly by local patriots who worry about the unity of their historical heritage. To get an idea of whether this plan would make sense or not it would be great to have a scientific study on the effects creation of Amnat Charoen province, but at least in English there seem to be nothing like that.

A one-hour TV discussion was uploaded to YouTube, but my Thai is way to bad to follow any of it.
The new province is supposed to include eight districts, all of them were originally part of the district Bua Yai (อำเภอบัวใหญ่).
  • 1939: Khong (อำเภอคง) split from Bua Yai [Gazette].
  • 1957: Prathai (อำเภอประทาย) split from Bua Yai [Gazette].
  • 1961: Non Daeng (อำเภอโนนแดง) was split from Prathai [Gazette].
  • 1976: Ban Lueam (อำเภอบ้านเหลื่อม) split from Khong [Gazette].
  • 1986: Kaeng Sanam Nang (อำเภอแก้งสนามนาง) split from Bua Yai [Gazette]
  • 1997: Bua Lai (อำเภอบัวลาย, Gazette) and Sida (อำเภอสีดา, Gazette) were split from Bua Yai.
The province Bua Yai (จังหวัดบัวใหญ่) would cover 2149 km² (10.5% of the whole province) and 375,000 citizen (14% of whole province). It would thus fit with the conditions for creating a new province - but not sure if there would be a consensus of the population to establish this province.

Friday, April 26, 2013

New minor district due to a white elephant?

In Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi province, a white elephant was observed in a group of elephants at a water hole. Given the symbolic importance of white elephants in all of South East Asia, this would be big news in Thailand especially once the observation is confirmed - there's still the chance that the elephant bathed in light colored mud before and thus only looked as having a very lightly colored skin. But to my surprise this could even have implication to the administrative units.
เมื่อวันที่ 25 เม.ย. นายมณเทียร ทองนิตย์ ผวจ.เพชรบุรี เปิดเผยว่า ได้สั่งการให้ นายขจรศักดิ์ สมบูรณ์ นอภ.แก่งกระจาน จ.เพชรบุรี ไปตรวจสอบข้อมูลต่างๆถึงความเป็นไปได้ในการจัดตั้งเป็นกิ่งอำเภอป่าเด็ง เพื่อดูแลช้างป่าเป็นพิเศษ และยังสามารถให้บริการประชาชนได้อย่างใกล้ชิดและทั่วถึง [...]
On April 25, Monthian Thongnit, province governor of Phetchaburi told that he ordered Khachorasak Sombun, district officer of Kaeng Krachan to check the information reaching to the creation of minor district Pa Daeng to look after the elephant forest as a special case while still service the citizen closely and thoroughly.
(Source: "ร้องตรวจสอบ หลังเผยภาพลับแท้จริงเป็นช้างเผือกหรือช้างคลุกฝุ่น", DailyNews, April 25 2013)
If the news article is correctly quoting the administrative change suggested, the new minor district would consist of just one subdistrict. Pa Daeng subdistrict has a population of 5402 (as of 2012), covers 273.568 km² (170,980 rai) and consists of 9 administrative villages. The subdistrict was created in 1988 by splitting 4 Muban from Song Phi Nong subdistrict [Gazette]. With just one subdistrict, it would be of course a very small district, though there are still two other districts having a lower population number. By area, it would be middle-sized, but that's obviously due to the large unpopulated forest areas of the subdistrict which make up the national park.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Streetview Thailand update

Pattaya city hall on Streetview
Yesterday, Google enlarged the coverage by StreetView in Thailand for the second time, apparently they seem to do around every six month as the previous one was in October last year. While sadly they still haven't added anything for the South since the initial version, the central area around Bangkok is now covered even better. Chonburi province is now completely added, including Pattaya of course, Ayutthaya and Suphanburi, which were partially done in the previous update, are now more-or-less complete as well, more parts of Ratchaburi and Kanchanaburi were added. In the North, now a good part of both Lampang and Lamphun province were added.

And Google hasn't stopped to collect data, right now the cars are underway in several provinces - too bad still no Ko Samui or other parts of Surat Thani.
  • Chachoengsao - Khlong Khiao, Bang Khla, Bang Nam Priao, Ban Pho, Mueang districts (the whole western part of the province, as Bang Pa Kong is already online)
  • Prachinburi - Ban Sang district
  • Singburi - Inburi and Mueang districts
  • Chiang Mai - Mae Chaen district
  • Mae Hong Son - Pang Mapha, Pai district
If I weren't busy with other things, it'd be fun to "drive" through the newly added areas of Thailand from my desk, collecting or verifying the coordinates of the local administration offices.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Local elections this year

Two months ago I completed the election data for the years 2009 to 2012, so that for every local government unit I already had at least one council term in my XML files. Two months later, I now finished another year, the elections taking place in 2009 and thus ending this year - another 3722 data points. I have already started the final complete list I found at the Election Commission with the elections which took place in 2004 and ending their term in 2008 - thus most of those which had their latest election last year. Those are another 3135 data points, but working through those may be a bit faster since back in 2008 there much less local administrations which had their mayor and council term out of sync.

I also found a source for the official election endorsements at the Election Commission, many PDF files which list the winning mayor and council candidates, both for the main election as well as for by-elections. Though only maybe half of the provinces are found in that collection, and it also just goes back till the spring of 2012, it also made it possible to add a lot of data to the XMLs.

Those sources combined made it possible to notice that the yearly tables for the Election Commission cannot be trusted fully - especially for the council sizes there are changes which cannot be explained. It seems that in the older table for several TAO simply the number of Muban in the Tambon was used to calculate the council size, ignoring the fact that some of the Muban may be completely within a municipality and thus not eligible to elect councilors to the TAO. But since Muban can also be shared between municipality and TAO, it may even be possible that the Muban area under jurisdiction of the TAO has no citizen. I now have 65 cases where the council seemed to have changed, but I could no verify whether it really changed or one of the numbers is simply wrong.

Finally, thanks to the online archive of the +Phuket Gazette, I was able to reconstruct the election history for this one province since the turn of the century, including the very interesting case of Pa Tong municipality which had three election within few months - the first and second election after its upgrade to a town in 2002 were nulled due to election fraud.

I have to hurry to work through the 2008 data, because soon the municipal upgrades will begin - with around 3249 TAO having either (or both) a mayor or council term end this year, several will get upgraded to municipalities. So far only few upgrades were decided and documented in the board meeting transcripts, but to be effective in September when most of the terms end I soon have to focus on those as well.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Population statistics 2012 available

End of March, the official population numbers as of December 31 2012 were published in the Royal Gazette, listed for each province. According to this announcement, the Kingdom has a population of 64,456,695 - 32,700,727 men and 32,755,968 women.

More detailled is the population statistics which is available at the Department of Provincial Administration (DOPA), which goes down to subdistrict level and also separated municipal and non-municipal data. I have written down a guide on how to read these data earlier on the blog. The full 2012 data is now also available - with the usual caveat that this data relies on the registration data, but quite a lot of Thai don't renew their registration when they move to a different province, so especially the numbers for Bangkok are probably much lower than the real population.

A little picks from the data
  • The population for the whole country increased by 380,662, which means an increase by 0.59%.
  • The province which had the largest population increase was Chonburi, which gained 25,346 citizen. By percentage however, Pathum Thani was the biggest winner with a 2.27% increase.
  • Tak lost 4,973 citizen, which also made it the biggest looser by percentage with a 0.94% loss.
  • At district level, Mueang Samut Prakan district had the largest increase by number (7,556), whereas Bang Yai in Pathum Thani the largest by percentage (4.46%).
  • At subdistrict level, the largest increase by percentage was on Ko Tao (25.21%), the largest decrease in Mae Sot (-12.49%)
Usually the population data contains some new municipalities as well, however by far not all of the municipalities created lately are listed with the data - and also those municipalities added were already created four years ago. One reason for this is obviously that in many provinces the TIS:1099 codes at district level are all used and its no longer possible to assign such a number to a the new municipalities.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Municipal boundary adjustment in Phayao

Since I was quite busy with other tasks, I haven't yet reported the Royal Gazette announcement published last week. The subdistrict municipality Ban Tam (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านต๊ำ) in Mueang Phayao district [Gazette]. The adjustment is related to the earlier announced area change of two further municipalities, as all three subdistricts had their boundaries changed last year.

In contrast to Ban Mai and Tha Champi, in Ban Tam it had an elected council and mayor since 2009, whereas the other two municipalities had to wait almost three years until being able to hold the first election as a municipality. The only difference between them was that Ban Tam was already upgraded in July 2008, while the other two were upgraded in October 2009. Apparently the subdistrict area change was planned sometime in 2009 but took three years to be finalized, and the Election Commission delayed the elections all that time. The term of the council and mayor of Ban Tam ended in January this year and the new election was just yesterday - thus there were more than 45 days between the end of term and the election, so here the Election Commission had delayed the election a bit as well. New constituencies for the municipality were announced in beginning of March, the election was thus approximately one month after the constituencies were approved.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Municipal announcements

Yesterday the rename of two municipalities was announced in the Royal Gazette.
  • Tha Nam Oi (เทศบาลตำบลท่าน้ำอ้อย), Phayuha Khiri district, Nakhon Sawan province, renamed to Tha Nam Oi Muang Hak (เทศบาลตำบลท่าน้ำอ้อยม่วงหัก) [Gazette]. The municipality covers both of the subdistricts Tha Nam Oi and Muang Hak, but so far only one of the subdistricts was represented in its name.
  • Ban Dan (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านด่าน), Phayuha Khiri district, Ubon Ratchathani province, renamed to Ban Dan Khon Chiam (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านด่านโขงเจียม) [Gazette]. The municipality covers parts of the subdistrict Khong Chiam, which was previously not represented in its name.
Both name changes were effective February 25, and were both discussed in the board meeting on December 26 2012. Strangly, apparently neither of them was approved by the board to consider name changes - at least the above linked meeting transcript does not mention it, nor did the announcements itself mention in which meeting the name change was approved.

 I haven't yet had the time to write up on two further municipal announcements from last Friday, changes in the boundaries of municipalities and TAO.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Municipal boundary adjustments

Yesterday, four announcements were published in the Royal Gazette, adjusting the boundaries of municipalities and TAO in two provinces.
  • Subdistrict municipality Mae Phrik (เทศบาลตำบลแม่พริก), Mae Phrik district, Lampang province and the TAO Mae Phrik (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลแม่พริก). The announcement was done in two parts [Thesaban, TAO], and as usual only the announcement for the municipality includes a map. The previous municipal boundary dates back to the creation of the sanitary district Mae Phrik in 1956 [Gazette]. Comparing the two maps, the area of the municipality was enlarged significantly, adding area to the north and even more area to the south of the original municipality area. An interesting question would be whether there will now be early elections for the councils and mayor of the two local governments - the terms for the TAO will end in December 2013, the terms for the municipality in January 2014. At least for the municipality, first the Election Commission has to draw new constituency boundaries, the ones from 2004 are now of course obsolete.
  • Subdistrict municipality Ban Mai (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านใหม่, Gazette), Mueang Phayao district, Phayao province and subdistrict municipality Tha Champhi (เทศบาลตำบลท่าจำปี, Gazette). Both municipalities cover the whole same-named subdistrict - both were upgraded from being a TAO in 2009. Since Ban Mai is located directly north of Tha Champhi. Thus this announcement correlates with a change of subdistrict boundaries in 2012 [Gazette] - which mentions Ban Mai, Tha Champi and Ban Tam. maybe for the municipality Ban Tam there'll be a similar announcement forthcoming. Interestingly, both Ban Mai and Tha Champhi had their first local election as a municipality on February 21 this year, 1302 days after the last TAO council term had ended. Apparently the Election Commission waited with drawing the constituencies until this boundary issue was settled, the constituencies were announced in the Royal Gazette last November (Ban Mai, Tha Champi). More than three years without an elected local government is a very long time the government-installed municipal clerk (Palat Thesaban, ปลัดเทศบาล) could manage the municipality completely alone.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Changing TAO council sizes

The size of the council of a subdistrict administrative organization (TAO) varies a lot, because every administrative village within the TAO has two elected councilors. Only in case there are less than three villages, the number of councilors per Muban is higher since the minimum size of the council is six. Thus there are TAO councils between six and more than 50 members. But not only the size of each TAO council differs, also the size of one TAO council can change - whenever a new administrative village is created, the council will be enlarged by two seats. The councilors from the village which is split are assigned to that part village in which they live, so its no necessarily the seats from the new village which will be filled in the by-election.

Now I add the council term ends in this year and thus the election dates for 2009, I stumble over several cases where the council size has changed between the 2005 and 2009 election. In those cases where I know that a new village was created during the term that change is easily explained - one example can be the TAO Chae Chang (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลแช่ช้าง) in San Kamphaeng district of Chiang Main province. In 2005 the council had 14 members, in 2009 it had 16 members. Today, the subdistrict contains 10 administrative villages - thus at first one would expect 20 TAO members. But village 7 is completely covered by the municipality San Kamphaeng and thus is not eligible to send councilors to the TAO council, and for village 8 the area which belongs to the TAO is unpopulated, only for Mu 6 one part of the population belongs to the municipality and another to the TAO - so effectively there are eight Muban for the TAO. And since village 10 was created in 2006 there must have been a by-election to enlarge the council shortly after the new Muban became effective.

This way I could already explain a big number of the council size changes, but sadly no all. Even though those files from where I copy my data are published by the Election Commission, they obviously contain wrong data - for example for the TAO Don Du (องค์การบริหารส่วนตำบลดอนดู่) in Khon Kaen province, according to the EC tables the council had a size of 18 in 2005 and 24 in 2009. But - the subdistrict has 12 villages and no area shared with any municipality, and already in 2002 it had 11 villages. Only one village was added in 2006, so the number for 2005 must have been 22, not 18. There were even a few cases where instead of the number of seats the table showed the number of constituencies (i.e. of Muban). In other cases, there were smaller councils in 2005, and in 2009 the council had two members for every Muban - but part of the subdistrict belongs to a municipality, and there were no boundary changes between TAO and municipality as far as I knew. So I have no idea why those Muban were eligible to have councilors in 2009, but not in 2005.

Apparently, the Excel sheets and PDFs from the ECT were created manually, otherwise such obvious mistakes could not happen. If I could spend more time on the programming part of my data collection project, I would easily have a small tool which could output the same tables from my collected data. But then there's still the problem that I don't have the full source data, I can only reconstruct them from those files I have. Especially whenever a mayor or a council ends its term prematurely I would have to update the data in the XML directly - but I rarely find these information at the ECT provincial websites.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Local government terms 2009-2012

The task which kept me busy the last months was to add election data to my XML files reached a first milestone. On the website of the Election Commission, I originally found an Excel sheet with all the term ends of the local government councils and mayors in 2012, and after some more searching another Excel file for 2009 and two PDFs for 2010 and 2011. Since those files cover the last four years, in principle I should now have data for every local government unit. But actually, a few are still without - those which ended their term in 2008, but had the next election in 2009 are missing, especially the TAO upgraded to municipalities in 2008. Nevertheless an impressive number of local government units:
An example entry in the XML, taken from the subdistrict municipality Khlong Cha-un in Surat Thani, looks like this
  <term begin="2012-12-16" type="ThesabanTambon" size="12" />
  <term begin="2008-11-09" end="2012-11-08" type="ThesabanTambon" size="12" />
  <term begin="2004-07-25" end="2008-06-30" type="TAO" size="26" endreason="StatusChange" /> 
Notice that the last term as a TAO ended about one month before the nominal end of term because the upgrade was effective a little earlier than in most cases - normally the upgrade happens on the day after the term ended. Such cases of prematurely ended terms are the most interesting ones, and will write up some articles on some types of premature ends - the end due to a status change is the least interesting one.

And I am not yet done with this huge task of adding term data, in the meantime the term ends in this year were published as a PDF, and I also found another PDF with the data for 2008. This year there will be a total of 3596 term ends, again a lot of TAO end their term since it is 4th four year period since 1997 when 3637 TAO were created. And again a significant number of these I expect to be upgraded to municipalities this year.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Elections in the 1950s

The book Village life in modern Thailand by John E. DeYoung is a very interesting description of the rural life in Thailand in the 1950s - which at the time of writing the book was the "modern time". A few sections also mention the relationship of the villages to the authorities, like the following on the national election.
A few weeks before an election each district officer instructs the headmen of his village and communes to encourage their villagers to vote; the headmen assemble the villagers, urge them to vote, instruct those who have never voted in how to cast a ballot, and assign a registration number to each person eligible to vote. A registration list is sent by the headman to the local polling place (which is often the nearest primary school), and watchers and checkers are appointed for the polls. On the day before the elections the headman sends his assistant to all households to remind them that the election will take place on the morrow. Thus, even though the villager sees, hears, or reads nothing of the candidates, he is constantly reminded of the election during the several weeks preceding it.

In 1949, in a by-election for assemblyman, 49 per cent of those eligible voted in the village of San Pong — 72 per cent of the eligible males and 25 per cent of the eligible females. None of the candidates visited the village, no campaign literature was distributed, and since they do not read newspapers, few of the villagers had any clear idea of the campaign issues. The villagers made their choice partly on the basis of what the headman and the schoolteacher said about the candidates, partly on the basis of the nearness of the candidate's home town. A man from the closest town, even though he was personally unknown to the villagers, was regarded as a "local" man, a consideration which made him a better choice in the eyes of the villagers than his rivals from more distant parts of the province.

Eligibility to vote consists simply in being older than twenty-one. Since so many adult villagers are illiterate, a technique has been devised to allow those who cannot read and write to vote. Each candidate is assigned a number. These numbers are printed in Thai numerals and also in large dots on perforated paper. When the voter comes to the polls he is told which number corresponds to which candidate; he enters the voting booth, tears off the piece of the ballot which contains the number of dots for his choice, seals this inside an official envelope which is given to him when his name is checked on the registration list by the polling inspectors, and drops it in the ballot box. For his vote to be valid the envelope must be sealed, for Thailand voters enjoy the privilege of secret ballot. [...]
I'll post some more quotes from this book later with other sections on the local administration. The whole book is also available at, apparently already out of copyright. Despite being available online, I have got myself an antiquarian copy - reading it in paper is more comfortable...

Friday, February 15, 2013

Graphical license plate for Phetchaburi

Today, a new graphical car license plate was announced for Phetchaburi province [Gazette], replacing the design originally announced in 2005 [Gazette].
Comparing the two design, one can easily find the new elements. In the background is Phra Nakhon Khiri with the fireworks of the annual festival, held in the beginning of April. Also new are the two Garuda figures, though I don't know how these are special for this province. The flowers, fruits and the local sweets have been moved together to the left side - the palm trees as the source of the palm sugar as the main ingredient for these sweets are now much smaller and spread in the background.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Local political crimes

Probably the biggest news last week was the arrest of Somchai Khunpluem (สมชาย คุณปลื้ม), better known as Kamnan Poh, who was on the run for eight years. As his nickname suggest, he was subdistrict headmen from 1968 till 1989 in Saen Suk subdistrict, Mueang Chonburi district. 1989 he became the first mayor of Saen Suk subdistrict municipality, which was upgraded from a sanitary district in that year. He stayed in office till 2005, when he fled the country facing arrest for the 2003 murder of another subdistricht headman.

However the legal problems of Kamnan Poh haven't affected the political influence of the Khunpluem family - one of his sons is chairman of the Chonburi PAO, another the mayor of the city of Pattaya. And also Saen Suk municipality is still led by a Khunpluem family member. Thus it is no wonder that some analysists claim that his arrest now was the result of loosing protection from influential figures - Bangkok Pundit has a summary of the most likely theories.

Coincidentally, just one week before this arrest, another political murder led to the arrest of an important local politician. Last November, the mayor of Songkhla municipality, Peera Tantiserani (พีระ ตันติเศรณี), was fatally shot. A political reason for this murder was suspected right away, and now Uthit Chuchuay (อุทิศ ชูช่วย), the chairman of the Provincial Administrative Organization (PAO) Songkhla was arrested as being one of the masterminds behind the murder. Another local politician is apparently also involved, the mayor of TAO Tabon in Ranot district. As usual, the case is around an infrastructure project which probably would have gained the suspected plotters some additional income - a cable car crossing the mouth of Songkhla lake. Peera was a strong opponent of this project due to its ecological impact on the remaining forest in the municipal area.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bangkok governor candidates

Yesterday the official candidate registration of the gubernatorial elections in Bangkok has started, and already on the first day 18 candidates have registered. Since 16 have registered directly at the start of the registration period, the numbers on the ballots for them were drawn in a lottery, whereas the remaining two got the number in order of their registration. The registration period end on Friday, so a few more candidates may get added to the list.

Only two of the 18 candidates run under a party label, and its probably one of these two who will win the election - incumbent M.L. Sukhumbhand Paribatra (ม.ร.ว.สุขุมพันธ์ บริพัตร) running for the Democrat Party with the number 16, and Pongsapat Pongcharoen (พล.ต.อ.พงศพัศ พงษ์เจริญ) for Phue Thai with number 9. From the polls posted by BKK Mango it looks like an open race between them. For those able to read Thai, Richard Barrow has also collected the social web pages for the major candidates.

Whereas in most local elections there are usually only two or three candidates, and sometimes even just a single candidate without any competitor, the number of candidates for the Bangkok governor is always much higher - both due to the larger electorate and thus also the larger number of eligibly candidates, but also due to the much larger media coverage even for those candidates who never have a chance to win. As far as I was able to find, in the recent BKK gubernatorial elections there were always more than 15 candidates.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

License plate graphic for Kanchanaburi

Yet another updated graphical car license plate, this time for the province of Kanchanaburi announced in the Royal Gazette last Friday.
The symbolism of the graphic is clear - Kanchanaburi is a popular province for tourists and all of the items found in the graphic are well-known attractions in the province.Most prominently is the railway bridge of the River Kwae (The Bridge on the River Kwai) to the left. Below the bridge is one of the river restaurants, which are found a lot in Kanchanaburi town. To the right are the Three Pagodas found at the boundary to Myanmar at the Three Pagodas Pass. The waterfall below is the Sai Yok waterfall. The setting sun in the middle refers to the location of the province in the west of Thailand - the Thai word for "west" translates as "where the sun sets".
The design announced in 2006 [Gazette] also shows the bridge and the pagodas, and I assume the somewhat strange looking water at the left border is again the Sai Yok waterfall.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Local government elections this year

Finally I have found the page within the Election Commission website where they place the links to the most important reference lists. There is has the full results for the last three parliament elections, the latest senate election, and also the lists of the local government term ends starting in 2009. These lists keep me busy for some time already, extracting the election dates from there and adding them into the XML files.

Thus I now also have the list of all the term ends in this year, the actual election date for each of the local government unit will be chosen by the Election Commission when it reaches its term end. But since each term is exactly four years, this table now enables me the get the election dates in 2009. However, one big drawback is that the list is a PDF file, whereas for 2012 and 2009 there were Excel sheets. I was able to convert the PDF back to a Excel, but all of the vocals and other letters below or above the consonants were lost in the process, making it somewhat more difficult to work through the list.

Most of the 115 pages of the PDF are this list, but there are a few statistics at the beginning of the document as well worth mentioning here. This year, terms will end for the mayor and/or the council in 3596 local governments.
  • 5 Provincial Administrative Organizations (only mayors)
  • 341 municipalities
  • 3249 TAO
And while the municipal elections are spread all over the year, September will see 2941 TAO ending their terms. Thus there will be a lot of local elections in October, but probably also again quite some number of TAO upgraded to municipalities which is normally done with the term ends. Also interesting - in 105 TAO and 21 municipalities the mayor and the council have different term ends, mostly caused by mayors who did not complete their term.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New car license plate graphic for Khon Kaen

I still haven't yet written the article on the remaining three new license plate graphics published on Christmas, now another graphic was announced, this time for Khon Kaen. It is in fact already the third design for Khon Kaen, changed every four years.

The new design [Gazette] shows at top two branches of the Yellow Shower Tree (ราชพฤกษ์, Ratchaphruek), the symbol tree of the province. The stupa to the left is Phra That Kham Kaen, which is also the main item on the seal of the province. I am not sure about the symbolism of the tree trunk in middle, I only know that the provincial seal features two trees to either side of the stupa - but there is a similar looking trunk in front of the railway station of Khon Kaen. At both sides there is a yellow cartoon dinosaur, one holding a khene and the other doing a Thai greeting.
The 2010 design [Gazette] is similar, but instead of the two small cartoon dinosaurs a real dinosaur is depicted, probably the Phuwiangosaurus sirindhornae which was discovered in Phu Wiang district.
Finally, the 2004 design [Gazette] lacks the stupa and places the dinosaur much more into the background. For me, it is the visually least appealing design, but that's of course just my subjective impression.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bangkok governor resigns

At first look, it sounds like a nonsensical act - Bangkok governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra has resigned from his post today, to take effect tomorrow just one day before his term would have ended nominally on Thursday. However, this one day will have a bigger consequence for the forthcoming election. In case a governor fulfills his term, the next election has to take place within 45 days after the end of term. However, in case of an early resignation, the election has to take place within 60 days after the resignation - which makes sense to give the Election Commission enough time to prepare the elections to do those preparative steps which could be done in the last days of the nominal term otherwise. But since it is just one day this time, those preparations should be done already and the Election Commission could still choose the original scheduled election day. However it seems
If incumbent Governor Sukkhumbhand Paribatra resigns before completing his term on Friday, the gubernatorial race will take place on March 3 - but if he completes his term, the election will be held on February 17.
The Nation, Ten challenges for next city governor, 2012-01-07
According to Bangkok Post, adding two or three weeks to the election campaign is labeled to increase fairness in the election.
MR Sukhumbhand wanted his resignation to take effect before Jan 10 to allow fair compeition (sic!) in the Bangkok governor election, he said.
Bangkok Post, Sukhumbhand to resign Tuesday, 2012-01-07
There is however one big cloud over the re-election bid of MR Sukhumbhand, who is now facing investigations by the DSI over the extension of the contract with the company operating the Skytrain. Its a kind of deja vu - four years ago Sukhumbhand predecessor Apirak Kosayodhin resigned just one month after being reelected, also due to corruption charges. It will certainly be an interesting campaign.

A very interesting read in preparation to the campaign is the opinion published by Bangkok Post shortly after Christmas.
Bangkok governor, what is the job - other than keeping pet dogs out of public parks and collecting garbage and dumping it in Nakhon Pathom province?
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Act, BE 2528 outlines the power and role of the Bangkok governor, but other than hiring and firing city officials, everything else is vague and overlaps with the functions of the national government.
When functions are overlapped, budgets are overlapped and very little gets done, but a lot of people get to eat the cake. This isn’t necessarily the fault of the individual governors, but it is a problem of the definition, the status of Bangkok.
Bangkok Post, Bangkok governor, it's an insane job, 2012-12-27

Monday, January 7, 2013

New sister city for Bangkok

On January 4th, Bangkok governor Sukhumbhand signed a contract with the mayor of the Cambodian capital city Phnom Penh to make the two cities sister cities.
Phnom Penh is the 24th city to team-up with Bangkok. The capital's other twin cities include Washington DC, Beijing, Moscow, St Petersburg, Budapest, Brisbane, Manila, Seoul, Jakarta, Vientiane, Tehran and Shanghai.
The Nation, Phnom Penh, Bangkok now twin cities, 2012-01-05
When I last wrote about the sister cities of Bangkok, the Wikipedia article had totally bogus entries, and there was only a outdated list on the website of the city administration listing just 14 sister cities. When rechecking now, Wikipedia had the list of 22 sister cities same as the website of Bangkok - and someone already added Phnom Penh as well. Since The Nation had a partial list in their article as quoted above, it seems the missing city is Tehran, the capital of Iran. I wasn't able to find any other reference confirming that relationship, and have become somewhat skeptical in believing that newspaper.

Friday, January 4, 2013

First Royal Gazette announcements for 2013

Today the first announcements relevant to the administrative subdivisions were published in the Royal Gazette, and since last year had a lot of newly created municipalities these announcements are definitions of the constituency boundaries within municipalities. Due to the larger number of these announcements I normally don't write about them, thus this is a nice chance to mention them.
  • Ban Thaen (เทศบาลตำบลบ้านแท่น), Ban Thaen district, Chaiyaphum [Gazette]. The term of the municipality council will end on February 21 this year, so the change of constituencies comes in time to allow the election to take place within the 45 days after the end of term.
  • Phra Sadet (เทศบาลตำบลพระเสด็จ), Lap Lae district, Uttaradit [Gazette]. The TAO Thung Yang was upgraded to a municipality effective August 24 (and renamed to Phra Sadet since part of the subdistrict Thung Yang already forms the municipality Thung Yang), so now the constituencies are defined the first municipal election can take place.
  • Huai Sai (เทศบาลตำบลห้วยทราย), San Kamphaeng district, Chiang Mai [Gazette]. The TAO Huai Sai was upgraded to a municipality effective November 1st, cutting short the council term which would have run until September this year. In this case the time without an elected administration will be shorter than for Phra Sadet.