The Kingdom of Thailand, formerly known as Siam, with its capital in Bangkok, is located at the center of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It shares borders with Burma and Laos to the north, the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia to the south, Laos and Cambodia to the north-east and east, and the Andaman Sea to the west. The total area of Thailand is approximately 513,115 square kilometers with an estimated population of 65 million. The ethnicity of Thailand is comprised of 80% Thai, 10% Chinese origin, 3% Malays, with the remaining population made up of Mons, Khmers, and various hill tribe people.
The official language is Thai, although English is also widely spoken in major cities, especially in Bangkok. As stated in its Constitution, Buddhism is the state religion of Thailand, and is practiced by approximately 89% of the population. Other faiths practiced in Thailand include Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Sikh, Hinduism, and Judaism.
Thailand is a constitutional monarchy guided by the principles of parliamentary democracy, as stated in the Preamble of the 2007 Constitution. Under the Constitution, the system of government of Thailand is modeled after the Westminster system, and divided between executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The King is the Head of State and he exercises power through the National Assembly, the Council of Ministers, and the Courts. The Prime Minister leads the Council of Ministers, and is elected by the House of Representative and officially appointed by the King as the Head of the Government. The Parliament, also called the National Assembly, is comprised of two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The judicial branch consists of four major court systems: the Courts of Justice, the Administrative Courts, the Constitutional Court and the Military Courts. National elections are held every four years with the first democratic election held in 1932.
Thailand joined the United Nations (UN) in 1946. Thailand is also a member of many international organizations, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), G-77, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Labour Organization (ILO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), World Health Organization (WHO), World Trade Organisation (WTO), and many more. Thailand also is a permanent observer of the Organization of American States (OAS), Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).