Party-list seats row engulfs EC

Party-list seats row engulfs EC

Chulalongkorn University students late last month use their mobile phones to scan bar codes to sign an online petition pressing for the impeachment of the poll commissioners due to alleged mistakes in organising the general election. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Chulalongkorn University students late last month use their mobile phones to scan bar codes to sign an online petition pressing for the impeachment of the poll commissioners due to alleged mistakes in organising the general election. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Confusion has erupted over the Election Commission's (EC) calculation of party-list seats with several small parties that captured fewer than 71,000 votes to be awarded House seats at the expense of larger parties.

Media outlets and academics, looking closely at the method specified in the organic law governing the election of MPs, estimate the value of a House seat at 71,000 votes. This is based on unofficial vote tallies released by the EC last week.

However, some smaller parties that captured 30,000-50,000 votes in the March 24 poll claim they will also be awarded House seats based on the EC's calculation. The poll agency has yet to clarify the method it has used to calculate party-list seats.

In the latter case, the number of seats to be allocated to large parties such as the Future Forward Party (FFP) would be reduced while smaller parties, which were not expected to have won any seats, are likely to take home at least one seat each.

The Pheu Thai Party and FFP argued on Monday that the EC's calculation is wrong and not in compliance with Section 128 of the organic law governing the elections, under which 150 party-list seats will be allocated under a complicated proportional representation formula.

Pokin Polakul, a key Pheu Thai figure, said only 16 political parties should be allocated party-list seats because the number of votes they captured exceeded the number required to receive one.

According to Mr Pokin, small parties that received fewer than 71,000 votes are not eligible for a seat under Section 128 of the law governing MP elections.

Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said the party will wait and see how the EC proceeds.

Under the new system, the party, which won 137 seats from the constituency system and is not eligible for any party-list seats, will not be affected. But the FFP, its political ally, may suffer.

FFP secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul called on the EC on Monday to adhere to the law and respect fairness and transparency.

"Section 128 [4] stipulates that any party, which captures fewer votes than is required for a seat will be removed. The calculation method should not favour any particular party," he stressed.

"Using this method, the FFP would have 87 MPs: 30 from the constituency system and 57 from the party-list system," he added.

Mr Piyabutr called on the EC to disclose all of the electoral data to clear any lingering doubts and restore confidence. "The EC should make public all of the constituency-based data because each party sent staff to monitor how the votes were counted on the day of the election," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam on Monday defended the EC's system for calculating the results, saying it is in accordance with the law.

He said a party with fewer than 71,000 votes could be allocated a seat under the new proportional representation system.

The EC must explain its methods and answer other queries but it should not be rushed, he added.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (41)

7,139 new Covid cases, 13 more deaths

The country registered 13 more Covid-19 fatalities and 7,139 new cases during the previous 24 hours, the Public Health Ministry announced on Monday morning.

07:46

Taking retail to the next level

During the pandemic the past couple of years, retailers, brands and manufacturers have adapted to changing consumer behaviour.

06:30

FTI club launches EV component plan

The Federation of Thai Industries' (FTI) auto parts club is working to help 2,500 auto parts manufacturers accustomed to producing parts for internal combustion engines (ICE) to shift towards electric vehicle (EV) technology by launching an EV component development plan.

06:22