Geographic and Governmental Profile of Thailand

Background
A unified Thai kingdom was established in the mid-14th century. Known as Siam until 1939, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to have been taken over by a European power. A bloodless revolution in 1932 led to a constitutional monarchy. In alliance with Japan during World War II, Thailand became a US treaty ally in 1954 after sending troops to Korea and fighting alongside the US in Vietnam. A military coup in September 2006 ousted then Prime Minister THAKSIN Chinnawat. December 2007 elections saw the pro-THAKSIN People's Power Party (PPP) emerge at the head of a coalition government that took office in February 2008. The anti-THAKSIN People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD, aka yellow-shirts) in May 2008 began street demonstrations against the new government, eventually occupying the prime minister's office in August and Bangkok's two international airports in November. After an early December 2008 court ruling that dissolved the ruling PPP and two other coalition parties for election violations, the Democrat Party formed a new coalition government and ABHISIT Wetchachiwa became prime minister. In October 2008 THAKSIN fled abroad in advance of an abuse of power conviction and has agitated his followers from abroad since then. THAKSIN supporters under the banner of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD, aka red-shirts) rioted in April 2009, shutting down an ASEAN meeting in Pattaya. Following a February 2010 court verdict confiscating half of THAKSIN's frozen assets, the UDD staged large protests between March and May 2010, and occupied several blocks of downtown Bangkok. Clashes between security forces and protesters, elements of which were armed, resulted in at least 92 deaths and an estimated $1.5 billion in arson-related property losses. These protests exposed major cleavages in the Thai body politic that hampered the government and led to a general election in July 2011. THAKSIN's youngest sister, YINGLAK, led the Puea Thai party to an electoral win and assumed control of the government in August. YINGLAK's leadership was almost immediately challenged by historic flooding in late 2011 that had large swathes of the country underwater and threatened to inundate Bangkok itself. At the beginning of 2012 the Puea Thai-led government began fulfilling one of its main election promises, the pursuit of constitutional reform, which could lead to the nation's 19th Constitution since 1932. Since January 2004, thousands have been killed and wounded as separatists in Thailand's southern ethnic Malay-Muslim provinces continued the campaign of violence associated with their cause.
Location
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Burma
Geographic coordinates
15 00 N, 100 00 E
Continent / Subcontinent
Southeast Asia
Area
total:
513,120 sq km
rank:
51
land:
510,890 sq km
water:
2,230 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly more than twice the size of Wyoming
Land boundaries
total:
4,863 km
border countries:
Burma 1,800 km, Cambodia 803 km, Laos 1,754 km, Malaysia 506 km
Coastline
3,219 km
Maritime claims
territorial sea:
12 nm
exclusive economic zone:
200 nm
continental shelf:
200 m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate
tropical; rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon (mid-May to September); dry, cool northeast monsoon (November to mid-March); southern isthmus always hot and humid
Terrain
central plain; Khorat Plateau in the east; mountains elsewhere
Elevation extremes
lowest point:
Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point:
Doi Inthanon 2,576 m
Natural resources
tin, rubber, natural gas, tungsten, tantalum, timber, lead, fish, gypsum, lignite, fluorite, arable land
Land use
arable land:
27.54%
permanent crops:
6.93%
other:
65.53% (2005)
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Irrigated land
64,150 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
409.9 cu km (1999)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
82.75 cu km/yr (2%/2%/95%)
per capita:
1,288 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards
land subsidence in Bangkok area resulting from the depletion of the water table; droughts
Environment - current issues
air pollution from vehicle emissions; water pollution from organic and factory wastes; deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by illegal hunting
Environment - international agreements
party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:
Law of the Sea
Geography - note
controls only land route from Asia to Malaysia and Singapore
Country name
conventional long form:
Kingdom of Thailand
conventional short form:
Thailand
local long form:
Ratcha Anachak Thai
local short form:
Prathet Thai
former:
Siam
Government type
constitutional monarchy
Capital
name:
Bangkok
geographic coordinates:
13 45 N, 100 31 E
time difference:
UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions
77 provinces (changwat, singular and plural); Amnat Charoen, Ang Thong, Bueng Kan, Buriram, Chachoengsao, Chai Nat, Chaiyaphum, Chanthaburi, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri, Chumphon, Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Kanchanaburi, Khon Kaen, Krabi, Krung Thep Mahanakhon (Bangkok), Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Lop Buri, Mae Hong Son, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nan, Narathiwat, Nong Bua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Phangnga, Phatthalung, Phayao, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Phrae, Phuket, Prachin Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Ranong, Ratchaburi, Rayong, Roi Et, Sa Kaeo, Sakon Nakhon, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Sara Buri, Satun, Sing Buri, Sisaket, Songkhla, Sukhothai, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Surin, Tak, Trang, Trat, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Uthai Thani, Uttaradit, Yala, Yasothon
Independence
1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)
National holiday
Birthday of King PHUMIPHON (BHUMIBOL), 5 December (1927)
Constitution
24 August 2007
Legal system
civil law system with common law influences
International law organization participation
has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch
chief of state:
King PHUMIPHON Adunyadet, also spelled BHUMIBOL Adulyadej (since 9 June 1946)
head of government:
Prime Minister YINGLAK Chinnawat, also spelled YINGLUCK Shinawatra (since 8 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister CHALOEM Yubamrung, also spelled CHALERM Yubamrung (since 10 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister CHUMPHON Sinlapa-acha, also spelled CHUMPOL SILPA-archa (since 10 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister KITTIRAT Na Ranong (since 10 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister YONGYUT Wichaidit (10 August 2011); Deputy Prime Minister YUTHASAK Sasiprapha (since 18 January 2012)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers
there is also a Privy Council advising the king
elections:
the monarchy is hereditary; according to 2007 constitution, the prime minister is elected from among members of House of Representatives; following national elections for House of Representatives, the leader of the party positioned to organize a majority coalition usually becomes prime minister by appointment by the king; the prime minister is limited to two four-year terms
Legislative branch
bicameral National Assembly or Rathasapha consisted of the Senate or Wuthisapha (150 seats; 77 members elected by popular vote representing 77 provinces, 73 appointed by judges and independent government bodies; members serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives or Sapha Phuthaen Ratsadon (500 seats; 375 members elected from 375 single-seat constituencies and 125 elected on proportional party-list basis; members serve four-year terms)
elections:
Senate - last held on 2 March 2008 (next to be held in March 2014); House of Representatives - last election held on 3 July 2011 (next to be held by July 2015)
election results:
Senate - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - NA; House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PTP 265, DP 159, PJT 34, CTP 19, others 15
74 senators were appointed on 19 February 2008 by a seven-member committee headed by the chief of the Constitutional Court; 76 senators were elected on 2 March 2008; elections to the Senate are non-partisan; registered political party members are disqualified from being senators
Judicial branch
Constitutional Court, Supreme Court of Justice, and Supreme Administrative Court; all judges are appointed by the king; the king's appointments to the Constitutional Court are made upon the advice of the Senate; the nine Constitutional Court judges are drawn from the Supreme Court of Justice and Supreme Administrative Court as well as from among substantive experts in law and social sciences outside the judiciary
Political parties and leaders
Chat Pattana Party or CPN (Nation Development Party [WANNARAT Channukun]; Chat Thai Phattana Party or CTP (Thai Nation Development Party) [CHUMPON Silpa-archa]; Phalang Chon Party (People [Chonburi] Power Party) [CHAO Manivong]; Phumjai (Bhumjai) Thai Party or PJT (Thai Pride) [Boonjong WONGTRAIRAT (acting)]; Prachathipat Party or DP (Democrat Party) [ABHISIT Wechachiwa, also spelled ABHISIT Vejjajiva]; Puea Thai Party (For Thais Party) or PTP [YONGYUT Wichaidit]; Rak Prathet Thai Party (Love Thailand Party) [CHUWIT Kamonwisit]
Political pressure groups and leaders
Multicolor Group; People's Alliance for Democracy or PAD; United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship or UDD
International organization participation
ADB, APEC, ARF, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, BIS, CICA, CP, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, IMSO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OAS (observer), OIC (observer), OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE (partner), PCA, PIF (partner), UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador CHAIYONG Satchiphanon (also spelled CHAIYONG Satjipanon)
chancery:
1024 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 401, Washington, DC 20007
telephone:
[1] (202) 944-3600
FAX:
[1] (202) 944-3611
consulate(s) general:
Chicago, Los Angeles, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Kristie A. KENNEY
embassy:
120-122 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330
mailing address:
APO AP 96546
telephone:
[66] (2) 205-4000
FAX:
[66] (2) 254-2990, 205-4131
consulate(s) general:
Chiang Mai
Flag description
five horizontal bands of red (top), white, blue (double width), white, and red; the red color symbolizes the nation and the blood of life; white represents religion and the purity of Buddhism; blue stands for the monarchy
similar to the flag of Costa Rica but with the blue and red colors reversed
National symbol(s)
garuda (mythical half-man, half-bird figure); elephant
National anthem
name:
"Phleng Chat Thai" (National Anthem of Thailand)
lyrics/music:
Luang SARANUPRAPAN/Phra JENDURIYANG
music adopted 1932, lyrics adopted 1939; by law, people are required to stand for the national anthem at 0800 and 1800 every day; the anthem is played in schools, offices, theaters, and on television and radio during this time; "Phleng Sansasoen Phra Barami" (A Salute to the Monarch) serves as the royal anthem and is played in the presence of the royal family and during certain state ceremonies
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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