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This paper aims to confer on the scope of local government power in Thailand during the period 2009-2015. A case study of local governments in Loei and Nan provinces will be explored in regards to three issues: the local autonomy of both the local government and the local community; the responses of local units and the central government to decentralisation and local autonomy; and the opportunities and challenges for Thai local units. The research has found that, empirically, local autonomy and local governments’ responses to decentralisation are limited. On the other hand, the central government seems to embrace recentralisation, as decentralisation of specific functions has been authorised to local government. This situation has led to a myth to local governments in making decisions in both external and internal dimensions. Besides, challenges of genuine decentralisation depend upon adequate capacity of local civil servants, as well as local constituents. The ‘Tug-of-War’ game between the central and local government could influence Thailand’s future of decentralisation as recentralisation.
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