How the Thai State Subsidizes Political Parties
Sirivunnabood, Punchada | June 2019
An overwhelming consensus found in academic literature on politics in Thailand is that Thai parties are weak and in need of improvement. Political parties are ranked among the most corrupt institutions in the country, and a large number of corruption cases brought against party politicians both confirm and reinforce this impression. The term “money politics” has become an everyday phrase in Thailand, used to depict the moral degradation of party politicians, to describe their dual practices of accepting bribes from patrons and distributing money to gain or maintain office. Such practices among party politicians have often provided a dubious pretext for military coups, including the military overthrow of elected politicians in May 2014. To increase transparency and accountability in political parties as well as to strengthen the party system in Thailand while preventing the return of money politics, during the past quarter-century the drafters of Thai constitutions have designed versions of an Organic Law on Political Parties with sections related to party development. The 2017 Organic Law on Political Parties contains many important provisions to strengthen party organization, including those on primary elections, membership fees, membership recruitment, the establishment of party branches and party representatives at the provincial level. More importantly, the drafters were determined to retain the Political Party Development Fund (PPDF) as a means of providing funding for political parties. This was despite the fact that reports from the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) had found the processes of the PPDF dysfunctional. The allocation formula in the new law, however, differs from that of previous organic laws. Under the 2017 organic law, parties that win the elections will receive more state subsidies than small and new parties. Many critics argue that allocating subsidies to winning parties would limit opportunities for small and new parties that do not initially win seats to secure state funding for their organizational development.
CitationSirivunnabood, Punchada. 2019. How the Thai State Subsidizes Political Parties. © ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute. http://hdl.handle.net/11540/10474.
Corporate Governance Reform
Public Sector Projects
Public Sector Reform
Transparency in government
Government spending policy
Government business enterprisesShow allCollapse