List formula may revert: Wissanu

List formula may revert: Wissanu

Bill must pass House in 180 days under charter

If the bill on the election of MPs -- which in its current form will see the number of votes received by each party divided by 500 to determine the number of party-list seats -- isn't passed by its third reading on Aug 15, parliament will adopt an alternative method to work out the matter, said Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam on Thursday.

If the House fails to pass the bill as scheduled, the number of party-list seats will be calculated by dividing a party's total number of votes by the divisor 100 -- a method which had been voted down before as it was seen as benefiting larger, more established parties.

Mr Wissanu made the remarks after yet another House session called to discuss the issue had to be cancelled due to lack of quorum, in what is seen as a delaying tactic to stop the bill's passage in favour of the smaller divisor.

To date, three sessions have had to be called off as not enough MPs were present in the chamber for the session to continue.

Mr Wissanu said an earlier version of the bill will be adopted if the House fails to pass the bill in its current form by Aug 15, as by law, such bills have to be passed within 180 days.

The earlier version of the bill, which had already been scrutinised by the Council of State and cabinet, was voted down in parliament on July 6, resulting in changes which led to the bill's current form.

"A Constitutional Court ruling may have to be sought if the original version is resurrected," Mr Wissanu said.

Pheu Thai Party leader Cholnan Srikaew on Thursday admitted the party was using parliamentary mechanisms to stop the bill's passage.

"We have always supported the use of 100 and we have been trying to find ways to bring it back."

Small parties would find it easier to win a list seat using the larger divisor. But larger parties, Pheu Thai in particular, have been pushing for the smaller number, as they are confident of capturing many of the 100 seats up for grabs in the party-list system.

The Palang Pracharath and Democrat parties had previously backed the use of 100. However, coalition parties later made a U-turn in what is seen as a bid to prevent Pheu Thai from winning big in the next poll, sources said.

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