The king is Thailand’s head of state and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Although the king has little direct power, he may exercise considerable influence on political leaders and moral influence on society as a whole. Since 1946 the king of Thailand has been Bhumibol Adulyadej, or Rama IX.
The country’s chief executive official is the prime minister. The prime minister is designated from among the members of the House of Representatives and is usually the leader of the dominant party following elections. The king formally appoints the prime minister. The prime minister heads the cabinet, which consists of no more than 35 members. Under the 2007 constitution the prime minister is limited to two four-year terms in office.
Legislative power in Thailand is vested in a bicameral (two-chamber) National Assembly (Ratha Sapha), consisting of a House of Representatives (Sapha Poothaen Rassadorn) and a Senate (Woothi Sapha). The House of Representatives has 480 members; 400 of them are elected from single-member constituencies (geographical areas that each have one representative) and the remaining 80 are elected through a party-list system. House members are elected to four-year terms, but these terms can be cut short if the king decides to dissolve the legislature and call for new elections. The Senate has 150 members, 76 of whom are directly elected from districts corresponding to Thailand’s provinces and 74 of whom are selected by a committee. Most provinces have a single representative in the Senate, but the larger ones have additional representatives. The elected members of the Senate serve six-year terms, and the appointed senators serve three-year terms. "Thailand" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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