Thailand has the highest number of political dynasties in the world, according to a report released Sunday.
The report by King Prajadhipok's Institute shows the extent of certain families' influence on political development.
Satithorn Thananithichote, an academic with the institute, said the number of Thai MPs who had inherited political power from their families was higher than in any other country.
Surprisingly, the number of political dynasties in Thailand was even higher than in Mexico, the Philippines, Japan, Argentina, and the US _ countries notorious for nepotism, Mr Satithorn said.
In Thailand's most recent general election of July 3, 2011, 42% of MPs elected were replacing family members, compared with 40% in Mexico, 37% in the Philippines, 33% in Japan, 10% in Argentina, and 6% in the US, he said.
Mr Satithorn gave the example of the Shinawatra family, which has held on to political power since 1997.
This is almost three decades after the first Shinawatra family member, Lert Shinawatra, the late father of ousted prime minister Thaksin and Prime Minister Yingluck, became an MP in 1969 and started building a political base for the other Shinawatras.
Lert had passed on his success in politics to his younger brother Suraphan Shinawatra, who served as a Chiang Mai MP for four consecutive terms from 1979-1988. Thaksin later became Mr Suraphan's political successor. while former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, Thaksin's brother-in-law, later passed on the Shinawatra family's political power that has now been inherited by Ms Yingluck, Mr Satithorn said.
The ruling Pheu Thai Party has 19 families that have passed political power between their members, the highest of any party in parliament, he said.
The Democrat Party has 17 such families, Bhumjaithai Party has four families, Chartthaipattana Party has three families, and the Phalang Chon and Rak Thailand parties have one each, Mr Satithorn said.
However, Chartthaipattana was found to have the highest percentage of members from a political family, with 31.6% of the total number of MPs within the party.
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