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Social Action Party

The Social Action Party, a 1974 offshoot of the Democrat Party, was led by Thai statesman Kukrit Pramoj until he stepped down in December 1985. The party was led thereafter by the former deputy party leader and minister of foreign affairs, Siddhi Savetsila, a retired air chief marshal. More than any other party, the Social Action Party was identified with a free enterprise economy.

The eventful year of 1986 augured well for the future of party politics. Prem's coalition overcame a minor cabinet crisis, reined in outspoken Arthit, held the third parliamentary election since 1979, and improved the climate for professionalization of the military. At the root of the cabinet crisis was endemic factional strife within the Social Action Party, the senior partner in Prem's four-party coalition. This problem necessitated a cabinet reorganization in January and, worse still, caused the coalition government an embarrassing parliamentary defeat on a routine legislative bill. Facing the certainty of a major parliamentary fight over a motion of no-confidence against his government, Prem consulted King Bhumibol and dissolved the House of Representatives, with an election slated for July 27--eleven months ahead of schedule.

In the 1986 election, the party suffered a severe loss, brought on in no small part by its own internal strife. In May 1986, a splinter faction led by seventy-four-year- old Boontheng Thongsawasdi formed the United Democracy Party with financial support from big business--amid a spate of rumors that General Arthit was also among the party's behind-the scenes backers. In the July 1986 election and afterward, the United Democracy Party was outspokenly critical of the Prem administration.

The five junior coalition parties -- Phumjai Thai (PJT), Chart Thai Pattana (CTP), Puea Phaendin, Ruam Jai Thai Chat Pattana, and the Social Action Party -- filed a single motion with House Speaker Chai Chidchob on 03 February 2010 to amend the constitution. The motion would adjust two separate articles in the constitution. The first proposed amendment, to Article 94, would change the electoral system from multi-seat to single-seat constituencies, a move that most experts believe would benefit smaller parties in parliamentary elections. The second proposal, which also enjoys the support of the Democrat Party, would change Article 190 to clarify which international agreements needed parliamentary approval.

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