Thailand has seen a growing number of women elected to Parliament in recent decades. Yet, little research has been done on who these women are and how they affect the quality of democracy. This article is an attempt to fill this lacuna. Drawing on previously untapped Thai-language primary sources, it argues that the majority of female members of Parliament elected since 1975 have contributed to entrenching family-based rule and stunting the growth of political pluralism. This argument is based on the finding that most female MPs are related, by blood or marriage, to former male MPs. These women from political families constitute one part of the long historical process through which Thailand has lapsed increasingly into a family-based patrimonial polity since the absolute monarchy was abolished in 1932. The importance of families remains undiminished over time; the advent of electoral politics has only accentuated it by bringing more women with powerful family connections into Parliament.

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