The politics of Thailand currently takes place in a framework of a constitutional monarchy, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government and a hereditary monarch is head of state. Executive power is currently exercised by a military junta and its appointed Prime Minister and Cabinet. Legislative power is vested in a junta-appointed legislature. The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Political activities are currently banned. Prior to the 2006 coup, the kingdom was a parliamentary democracy, with an elected bicameral legislature.
Thailand had been ruled by kings since the thirteenth century. In 1932, the country officially became a constitutional monarchy, though in practice, the government was dominated by the military and the elite bureaucracy. The country's current constitution was promulgated in 2006.
The King of Thailand has little direct power under the constitution but is a symbol of national identity and unity. King Bhumibol who has been on the throne since 1946 commands enormous popular respect and moral authority, which he has used on occasion to resolve political crises that have threatened national stability.
Currently, Thailand is run by a military Military junta calling itself the Council for National Security. On 19 September 2006, the CNS staged a coup d'etat that overthrew the elected government of Thaksin Shinawatra. Since that time, Thailand has been governed by a military junta headed by General Sonthi Boonyaratglin, who later appointed General Surayud Chulanont, who is a member of King's Privy Council, as Prime Minister. The coup and the governing junta were endorsed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej in a royal decree on the day following the coup