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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.


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Government

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
Note
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
Note
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
Note
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
Note
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


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  Thailand (Bangkok):


  GPS points from Thailand (Bangkok)

Takiep Changwat Prachuap Khiri Khan

Ban Rattana Changwat Khon Kaen

Nam Mun Changwat Ubon Ratchathani

Ban Bang Thalu Phetchaburi

Ban Pa Yang Kiao Changwat Chiang Rai

Ban Nong Kae Changwat Maha Sarakham

Muang Pichai Uttaradit

Prae Changwat Phrae




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