Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/35050
Title: Locked in time: False starts, negative feedbacks and the path to disarray of the Thai party system
Authors: LE THI NGOC KIM
Keywords: Historical development of the Thai party system
Issue Date: 12-Sep-2011
Source: LE THI NGOC KIM (2011-09-12). Locked in time: False starts, negative feedbacks and the path to disarray of the Thai party system. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis analyzes the historical development of the Thai party system, in particular as far as the question of how historical legacies account for the lack of institutionalization of the party system. It departs from the observation about the rough and tumble of Thai party politics which is characterized by perplexing fights amongst intraparty factions, feeble party organizations, and influences of extra-parliamentary institutions and pressure from antiparty forces on the party system. Using a path-dependent approach, it argues that missteps of parties in the first party system (1945-1948) not only cleared the way for the military to return to power, leading to the downfall of parties, but also, and more tragically, failures of parties in that period set the party system on a path of poor institutionalization. The first party system emerged from favorable changes in domestic and international conditions by the end of World War II. If that party system had survived for a longer time, it could have had a chance to consolidate If parties had had more time to develop their organizations and social roots, they could have been stronger in their opposition to the military. As parties of the first period 1945-1948 collapsed when they were immature, they left no functional electoral machinery and little political reputation to their political descendants. This placed a huge burden on parties when elections resumed in 1969. Hastily rebuilding parties to run for elections, the central party leadership had to buy affiliation of office-seekers and rely on them to canvass for votes in local constituencies. The vote-collecting method that hinged on personalistic networks and rents helped fledging parties secure parliamentary seats in the immediate elections but proved to be detrimental to the long-term development of parties and the party system. Unsuccessful collective action in party organization during the transitional years from 1969 to 1979 gave office-seekers negative perception about parties. As party membership brings little to no benefits to politicians, they have few interests in committing themselves to the same parties. Parties often evanesce after a few elections because of a loss of membership. The party system experiences both high startup and mortality rates; therefore, it can hardly develop beyond the initial stage that is disorganized and atomized.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/35050
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Open)

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