EC to push ahead with formula

EC to push ahead with formula

FFP looks set to take biggest list-seats hit

Vote recount in Nam Phong district of Khon Kaen on April 18 (photo by Chakrapan Nathanri)
Vote recount in Nam Phong district of Khon Kaen on April 18 (photo by Chakrapan Nathanri)

The Election Commission (EC) will press ahead with its controversial method to calculate and allocate party-list seats.

The poll agency is expected to use the MP calculation method which allows parties that won fewer than the 71,000 votes, the benchmark for winning a list seat set by the organic law on election of MPs. This will give several small parties previously not expected to have won any seats in the poll a seat each, a source said.

The method favours small parties garnering fewer votes than the number required to get a seat under the complicated mixed-member apportionment (MMP) system, according to political observers.

The Pheu Thai Party has reiterated its strong opposition to it, arguing that this will have a significant bearing on the formation of the coalition government.

The party that would be affected most from the method is Future Forward (FFP). The number of its MPs could come down from about 87 to 80.

Sawaeng Boonmee, deputy secretary-general of the EC, said the poll agency will act within the scope of its duty and power to calculate the 150 party-list seats based on Section 128 of the organic law on the election of MPs.

The agency must officially endorse and announce the results of the March 24 poll by May 9. An EC source said the agency will calculate and allocate 150 list seats by May 8.

However, Pheu Thai Party spokeswoman Ladawan Wongsriwong said that the EC's calculation method must strictly follow the law on the election of MPs and the constitution.

She insisted that it was against the law to award party-list seats to small parties which had failed to meet the threshold under the MMP system. She added this would have a bearing on the formation of a coalition government.

"If the EC insists on using the calculation method which will allocate seats to small parties, this will violate the constitution and the EC must take responsibility for its action,'' she said.

Chusak Sirinil, Pheu Thai's chief legal adviser, said that if the EC stands by its own calculation method, it must face the consequences. Political parties are the stakeholders who will be affected by the agency's calculation method, and they have the right to take legal action against the agency, he said.

The charter court on Wednesday rejected an EC petition for a ruling on the calculation method legality.

There are two laws which stipulate how the 150 party-list seats should be distributed, Section 91 of the constitution and Section 128 of the organic law governing the elections of MPs.

Sticking to Section 128, the EC had previously stated it wants the court to rule on whether it can calculate the party-list seats in a way that would award them to parties that garnered fewer votes under the MMP system.

However, critics said Section 128 of the organic law goes against the principles contained in Section 91 of the charter. The EC also petitioned the court to rule whether this section contravenes Section 91 of the constitution.

The court ruled 7 to 2 that it is the duty and power of the EC to iron out the calculation method in line with both Section 91 of the charter and Section 128 of the organic law.

In its ruling, the court said that the EC has yet to show that it has performed its duties and/or exercised its powers under the constitution.


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