Thai Language Blog

Election Related Vocab Posted by on Aug 18, 2011 in History, Intermediate, Thailand Politics

Not too long ago Thailand had a very important election for the new Prime Minister. It was a very charged/heated election – to put it nicely. If you’re like me, you would be following Thai politics carefully and find yourself trying to explain (impose?) your version of democracy to everyone else. To help you with your intelligent discussions (heated arguments?), I’ve compiled a list of government/election related vocabulary words to help you get up to speed.


Citizen ประชาชน bra2 cha1 chon1

Protest ประท้วง bra2 tuwang3

Protester ผุ้ประท้วง puu3 bra2 tuwang3

State รัฐ rat4

Government รัฐบาล rat4 ta2 baan1

Democracy ประชาธิปไตย bra2 cha1 tib4 ba2 dtai1

Dictatorship/autocracy เอกาธิปไตย eh1 gaa1 tib4 ba2 dtai1

Military dictatorship เผด็จการทหาร pa2 det2 gaan1 ta1haan5

Aristocracy อำมาตยาธิปไตย tib4 ba2 dtai1

Corruption คอรัปชั่น kaw1 rab4 chan3

Vote (verb) เลือกตั้ง lueak3 dtang3

Election การเลือกตั้ง gaan1 lueak3 dtang3

Election Commission กกต. Gaw gaw dtaw  (the abbreviation is easier to use/remember)

Buy votes ซื้อเสียง (buy voice)

Sell votes ขายเสียง (sell voice)

Constitution รัฐธรรมนูญ rat4 ta2 tum1 ma1 nuun1

Prime minister นายกรัฐมนตรี naa1 yok4 rat4 ta2 mon1 dtree1

Governor ผู้ว่าการ puu3 waa3 gaan1


Red shirts เสื้อแดง seua3 daeng1

Yellow shirts พันธมิตร pan1 ta4 mit4 – They aren’t referred to as ‘yellow shirts’, but instead as the PAD.

political party พรรค paak4

Peua Thai Party พรรคเพื่อไทย paak4 peua3 tai1 – The largest political party in Thailand since 2001

Democrat Party พรรคประชาธิปัตย์ paak4 bra2 cha1 ti4 bat2 – Second largest political party, also the oldest.

Thaksin ทักษิณ ชินวัตร tak1 sin5 – The highly controversial previous Prime Minister

Abhisit อภิสิทธิ์ เวชชาชีวะ aw2 pi4 sit2 – Previous Prime Minister from the Democrat Party

Yingluck ยิ่งลักษณ์ ชินวัตร ying3 luck4 – Current Prime Minister, and sister of Thaksin


“Invisible hand” มือที่มองไม่เห็น – The ‘invisible hand’ refers to the very powerful group in the inner circle of royalty, i.e. royals and those tightly connected to them. Anyone who publicly mentions anything about them risks imprisonment for a very long time – or worse. So the media simply says ‘the invisible hand’ as a safe metaphor.


“3rd hand” มือสาม meu1 saam 5 – Some people felt that the ‘yellow shirts’ and ‘red shirts’ were peaceful, but there were more violent extremists and no-gooders trying to stir up trouble with grenades, etc. They as such were a ‘3rd’ group, or 3rd hand.


“Men in black” คนเสือดำ– After the 2nd army crackdown on the ‘red shirt’ protests began, and the army started moving in, a mysterious small group of heavily armed men wearing all black were filmed by the red shirt protesters shooting into the darkness. The videos don’t show who they were firing at or who they were, and theories are controversial, but evidence seems to point towards an unknown extremist faction within the red shirt group with connections to the army.

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