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This research explores the problems and structural constraints of local governance in Thailand since the major reforms in 1997. The aim is to analyze the effects the reforms have had in terms of structural changes in Thai local government and the limitations under these changes, as well as to make recommendations for reform and improvement of local government in Thailand to address the problems and constraints. The research revealed that the 1997 reform did not take into account the main tasks of local government and failed to link with other bureaucratic reforms, which contributed to a negative power dynamic between the upper-tier and lower-tier local government. Consequently, these challenges hinder the propelment and development of public service provision.
With this in mind, structural reform of local government in various dimensions is proposed to effectively and efficiently address issues of development and provision of public services to local communities. Devolution of power is proposed as an essential means of securing successful local government reform. In addition, reform of local governance must be implemented in parallel with bureaucratic reform. Last but not least, this research suggests that the structure of Thai local government must be improved. The two-tiered structure is still practical but requires more cohesive cooperation between the upper and lower-tier.
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