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LGAs - Crucial Partners for DELGOSEAS's Future | This month: Introducing the Municipal League of Thailand

LGAs - Crucial Partners for DELGOSEAS's Future | This month: Introducing the Municipal League of Thailand
12/01/2012

Thailand

In its last project year, DELGOSEA is focusing on sustainability - how can the project results be preserved, who will continue with activities when the EU-funding comes to an end? The obvious candidates for guardians of the DELGOSEA spirit are the official project partners, the local government associations (LGAs) in the five project countries. Continuing the series on LGAs, we are starting 2012 by introducing the Municipal League of Thailand (MLT), DELGOSEA’s LGA partner in the country.

MLT is clearly a force to be reckoned with in Thai politics, representing the level of municipalities in the country. The League was founded in 1960 and has grown enormously over the last 50 years – from the original 147 members to around 2000 now. Divided into five geographical sub-regions, each being responsible for between 10 and 19 provinces, MLT is representing its members in a wide range of topics, covering themes as diverse as foreign affairs, the environment, tourism and culture in 11 sub-committees.

The political system in Thailand was until recently characterised by a high degree of centralisation, since the provincial and local administration were essentially appointed agents of the central government, through the Ministry of the Interior. Traditionally, the administrative power of local governments in the provinces was wielded under these central government agents, i.e. governors and district officers. Other than voting in these elections, people’s participation in any level of local government was minimal.

However, under the 1997 Constitution the need for people’s participation in local government is specially emphasized and more than 200 functions have been devolved down to the local level – not coincidentally, MLT’s membership has shot up from around 1000 members in 1999 to its current level in the decade since the changes were introduced. All members of the legislative and executive branches of local government must now be elected and may be recalled by the people’s collective petitions.

The objectives of MLT are clear-cut: to promote cooperation and exchange between the members, to act as the representative organisation for municipalities all over the country and to promote quality standards in public administration and management. There is also a political element, with the League being keen on promoting the development of local political systems at the municipal level and to lobby for further decentralisation and more responsibility at the local level.

To achieve these objectives, the League commissions studies and research on technical and judicial matters and facilitates the exchange of ideas and experiences amongst its members. Capacity building measures are offered for municipal executives and officials, joint activities to strengthen local government are organised with international organisations.

Read more about MLT on DELGOSEA.eu: