Chiang Mai victory gives bloc zero political gain

Chiang Mai victory gives bloc zero political gain

Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (right) helps Srinuan Boonlue, the party's candidate for Chiang Mai's eighth constituency by-election, campaign. (Photo from Twitter@Trending Talk UK.com)
Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit (right) helps Srinuan Boonlue, the party's candidate for Chiang Mai's eighth constituency by-election, campaign. (Photo from Twitter@Trending Talk UK.com)

The anti-regime alliance has no reason to celebrate the Future Forward Party’s (FFP's) landslide victory in a Chiang Mai by-election, thanks to the Election Commission’s MP calculation method, which will also add two seats to the pro-regime side — giving them a net gain of one seat.

Srinuan Boonlue of FFP received 75,891 votes in the eighth constituency of the northern province in the by-election on Sunday, compared to the 29,556 votes she got in the March 24 election. The votes also made her the constituency MP with the biggest win in the country, topping Ekkarn Suesongtham of Phrae, also of FFP, with 72,016 votes. 

While the FFP win brought one more seat to the Pheu Thai-led coalition of seven parties, the votes earned by third-placed Palang Pracharath (27,861) and sixth-ranked Democrat Party (1,738) will likely give two party-list seats to the pro-regime bloc -- even though they won fewer votes than they did in the March 24 poll, by 11,360 in the case of PPRP and by 770 for the Democrat Party.

Meanwhile, the pro-regime Thai Rak Tham Party -- one of the 11 microparties each allocated one MP by the EC’s calculation method, even though the total vote in their constituencies did not meet the 71,000-vote threshold -- won 33 votes in the constituency, compared to 57 in the March 24 poll. The lower vote total will likely disqualify its MP, who will have to leave the House once the EC endorses the results.

All in all, the pro-regime front will likely gain two MPs and lose one, while the anti-regime side will gain one (the FFP constituency victory in Chiang Mai), based on the EC's formula -- leaving the pro- and anti-regime blocs in the same position as before.

The two new list MPs on the pro-regime side are Jitpas Kridakorn of the Democrat Party, an heiress of the Singha group and ex-core member of the People's Democratic Reform Committee, and Watanya Wongopasi of PPRP, media executive and wife of stock and media tycoon Chai Bunnag.

The EC called the by-election in the Chiang Mai constituency after the winner, Surapol Kiatchaiyakorn of Pheu Thai, admitted to giving a monk 2,000 baht, which the EC ruled was a breach of the election law. Pheu Thai was not permitted to field a candidate to replace him, and the votes he had won apparently went to its ally FFP’s candidate in the by-election on Sunday. A total of 127,832 people voted, accounting for 78.3% of all eligible voters in the four districts making up the constituency.


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