The present administration, led by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, took office for its second term following the 6 February 2005 general election. It is a single-party government, unlike the previous administration, which was a coalition.
The Thaksin Shinawatra administration on 5 January 2005 completed its first four-year term in office, the first elected government ever to do so in Thai history. Results of the February 6 general election showed that the Thai Rak Thai Party emerged on top, winning 377 seats in the 500-seat House of Representatives, with 310 from constituencies, and 67 from the party list. The Democrat Party came second, with 96 MPs: 70 from constituencies and 26 from the party list. Chart Thai came third, with 25 MPs: 18 from constituencies and seven from the party list. Mahachon came fourth, with only two MPs from constituencies. The total voter turnout nationwide was 72 percent, the highest ever in the history of Thailand?s general elections.
By royal command issued on 9 March 2005, leader of the Thai Rak Thai Party, Thaksin Shinawatra, was appointed the 23rd Prime Minister of Thailand in his second term. The Prime Minister, in his speech on the occasion of the reception of the royal command, pointed out that an overwhelming vote of confidence gained by his administration would lead to political stability. He assured the people that political stability would be used to create national unity and eradicate chronic problems and obstacles facing the country. He would modernize Thailand in terms of education, infrastructure, and the economy, pledging to provide greater opportunities for the people to have a better standard of living, a better society, a better economy, and better education.
The Prime Minister stressed that during his second four-year term in office, social problems would receive greater attention, be they family, youth, narcotics, tobacco, or alcohol issues. He would increase the power of the people and encourage public participation at all levels. In addition, the Thai Rak Thai Party will hold a primary election in 2008 before the next general election to ensure that all candidates are accepted by party members.
The Prime Minister said that he would work on the basis of people-centered principles and ensured that suggestions and advice of Their Majesties the King and Queen would be applied. He assured the people that they would witness changes for the better, and that a modern management system would be put in place in the next four years.
Two days after the royal command appointing the Prime Minister, the new Cabinet line-up was officially announced after royal endorsement. Prime Minister Thaksin told the people that members of his Cabinet must work hard, be capable of performing their duties, and work with transparency. If, after working for a certain period, they were found to lack these qualifications, they would be removed. New, enthusiastic ministers would replace those showing exhaustion or signs of wearing out after the hard work they have been doing.
The 35 Cabinet members of this administration comprise both new and old ministers, as well as outsiders. The first Cabinet took an oath of allegiance before His Majesty the King on 14 March 2005. An orientation of the new ministers, the first of its kind in the country?s administrative system, took place on March 15. At the orientation, the Prime Minister briefed his Cabinet on the philosophy of the new model of public administration, various government policies, what the Government wants from the policies, and how they would be linked together.
In the radio program ?Prime Minister Thaksin Talks to the People,? broadcast on Radio Thailand on 12 March 2005, the Prime Minister revealed that his government would continue the policies that have produced good results, improve several policies, and introduce new ones. The main objective was to create wider opportunities for the people in all areas, such as education, public health, and economic well-being.
Prime Minister Thaksin on 23 March 2005 presented his government?s policy statement in Parliament during the joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. He said that the past four years of his administration was considered a period of economic recovery and reconstruction. The next four years was set as a period for creating a sustainable Thailand. The policies are divided into nine major areas, namely poverty eradication, human development and quality of life, economic restructuring to create equilibrium and competitiveness, natural resources and environment, foreign and international economic affairs, the development of the legal system and good governance, promotion of democracy and civil society process, national security, and directive principles of fundamental state policies.
The policy statement indicates that the Government focuses on the continuation of the policy of the previous administration, which is sometimes referred to as the policy of ?Thaksinomics.? This policy has, in fact, brought about several changes or phenomena in Thailand in political, economic, social, community, and cultural areas.
The Prime Minister had explained that Thaksinomics is a ?dualtrack policy,? a social and economic citizen-centered policy. It is designed to bring changes to the conventional social and economic policies of Thailand and address the problems of both constituencies of the people, all at the same time and in the right proportion. He said that on the one hand, measures must be introduced to help strengthen the export-led sector of the economy. On the other hand, Thailand needs to strengthen the basic foundation of the economy--the grass roots--and the domestic-led growth of the economy.
The administration has clear-cut policies as well as supplementary measures. It has adopted a proactive approach and launched quick operations, instead of depending on and waiting for the policies or reports from the bureaucratic system, as was previously done.
Moreover, the Government has introduced major steps in bureaucratic reform, to make it more responsive to the development of human resources and knowledge and to keep pace with global changes. For example, it has undertaken the restructuring of government agencies, introduced the management style of ?CEO? ambassadors and provincial governors, and adjusted the state financial management system. The Government?s ?populist policy? has reached out directly to the people at the grass-roots level. In addition, the Thaksinomics policy has enabled Thailand to play a prominent role in the world arena.
After the end of the parliamentary debate on government policies, the Government began its immediate drive to transform the policies into action by calling a meeting of heads of government agencies and state enterprises to discuss the turning of government policies into action plans. Prime Minister Thaksin described the drive as the first in the history of Thailand?s administrative system: ?Transforming and repositioning Thailand will be our mission for the next four years,? he said.