Senate of Thailand


12th Senate of Thailand
Coat of arms or logo
Seal of the National Assembly
Pornpetch Wichitcholchai
since 28 May 2019
First Vice-President
Singsuk Singpai
since 28 May 2019
Second Vice-President
Suphachai Somcharoen
since 28 May 2019
Political groups
  •   Appointed (250)
Length of term
5 years, non-renewable
Indirect limited voting with self-nomination (for next elections)
Last election
30 March 2014
Next election
26 June 2024
Meeting place
Chandra Chamber
Dusit District
Bangkok, Thailand

The Senate of Thailand (Thai: วุฒิสภา, RTGSWutthisapha, pronounced [wút.tʰí.sā.pʰāː]; formerly known as the Elder Council, Thai: พฤฒสภา, RTGSPhruetthasapha, pronounced [pʰrɯ́t.tʰá.sā.pʰāː]) is the upper house of the National Assembly of Thailand, Thailand's legislative branch. In accordance with the 2017 constitution of Thailand, the Senate is a non-partisan legislative chamber, composed of 250 members.[1] There are no elections for the Senate – all 250 Senators are appointed by the Royal Thai Military.[2] Senators serve five year terms in office.[3]

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives were abolished as a result of the 2014 Thai coup d'état. These were replaced with the unicameral National Legislative Assembly, a body of 250 members, selected by the National Council for Peace and Order. The 2017 constitution, which was approved by a referendum in 2016, provided for a 250-members Senate, which was not elected but rather appointed by a special committee, which was itself appointed by the military. As such, it has been often considered as a rubber stamp for decisions already taken by the higher-ups of the military junta.[4][5]. As the indirect election is heavily influenced and intervened by the election commission, it is criticised by the public as a corrupted chamber with no mandate from people at all.


The idea of bicameralism first permeated Thai politics with the Constitution of 1946, when the government of Pridi Banomyong introduced a Senate modelled on the British House of Lords. For the first time, an upper house came into existence in Thailand. The Senate was to be fully elected, however, the elections would be indirect, as the House of Representatives would elect the senators, for six-year terms. The 1946 Constitution was soon abrogated in a military coup. Subsequent constitutions saw only occasional bicameralism, and when it did exist, the Senate was always filled with appointees from the military and the elite. The 1997 constitution saw a return to a fully elected Senate. That constitution was abrogated after the 2006 coup, and replaced with one calling for a half-elected/half-appointed Senate. The 2007 Constitution was itself repealed in 2018 following the 2014 coup, and replaced with a new one which provided for a fully appointed Senate.


The 250-person Senate is composed of 194 members selected by the ruling junta. Fifty senators represent ten professional and forty social groups: bureaucrats, teachers, judges, farmers, and private companies. A shortlist of 200 were proposed to the NCPO which made the final selection of fifty. The remaining six Senate positions are reserved for the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, the defence permanent secretary, the national police chief, and the heads of the army, navy, and air force, who are all senators ex officio.[4] As of 2020, 104 out of the 250 senators are police or military officers.[6]


The qualifications for the membership of the Senate could be found in section 115, Part 3, Chapter 6 of the 2007 Constitution. A candidate intent on being a member of the Senate had to be a natural born citizen of Thailand as well as being 40 years or older on the year of election or selection. The candidate must have graduated with at least a bachelor's degree or an equivalent. Elected candidates must have been born, must have had a home and had to be registered to vote in the province which the candidate intended to represent. The candidate must not have been an ascendant, spouse or a child of a member of the House of Representatives or any person holding a political position and must not have been a member of a political party for at least five years.

All other disqualifications were similar to that of the House, the individual must not have been: addicted to drugs, been bankrupt, a convicted felon, a member of a local administration, a civil servant, a member of the judiciary or any other government agency. Being disenfranchised (being a member of the clergy, felon, or mentally infirm). If the candidate was a member of a local administration or a Minister he must have left his post for a period of at least five years before being eligible.


Depending on the situation in each constitution.[4]


The term of the Senate is five years.[2] The term is fixed, therefore the Senate cannot be dissolved under any circumstances and would be re-elected in accordance with a Royal Decree issued thirty days after the expiration of the term.


Members of the Senate are entitled use the title Senator in front of their names (Thai: สมาชิกวุฒิสภา or ส.ว.). Membership of an elected Senator began on the senate election day, while an appointed senator became a member after the publication of the election result by the Electoral Commission. Senators could not hold more than one consecutive term, therefore senators could not be re-elected. Senators continue to serve after their term is expired until a new Senator is confirmed. If there was a vacancy the seat was immediately filled either by election or appointment.


The Senate shares many powers, if not more, than the House of Representatives; these include:

Exclusive Powers:


See also: List of Presidents of the Senate of Thailand

The Senate elected three presiding officers; one president and two vice presidents. The president of the Senate was also the ex-officio vice president of the National Assembly of Thailand. The election was done by secret ballot, after a resolution finalizing the selection the name was submitted to the king for formal appointment. There were no partisan officers as the Senate of Thailand was a non-partisan chamber.[7][8]

See also


  1. ^ "Thailand's Constitution of 2017" (PDF). Constitute Project. 4 February 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on 14 November 2022. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b Sapsomboon, Somroutai (7 October 2018). "Elected govt to be at mercy of Senate". The Nation. Archived from the original on 26 June 2022. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  3. ^ "The World Factbook; Thailand". US Central Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on 10 June 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c Kendall, Dave (2019-01-28). "Explainer: The appointed Senate". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2019-01-28.
  5. ^ "Thailand election: Quick guide to the post-coup polls". BBC News. 2019-03-25. Archived from the original on 2019-06-06. Retrieved 2019-09-30.
  6. ^ "Gen Prayut's brother appointed to military-dominated Tourism Committee". Prachatai English. 17 April 2020. Archived from the original on 24 April 2020. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  7. ^ "Thai Governmental Structure (Under Thailand's 1997 [B.E. 2540] Constitution)". Thailand Law Forum. Archived from the original on 28 January 2020. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  8. ^ "Senate list ready, some cabinet ministers believed on it". Bangkok Post. 3 May 2019. Retrieved 18 April 2020.

Further reading