Parliament chooses MP calculation method favouring small parties

Parliament chooses MP calculation method favouring small parties

Lawmakers attend a parliamentary session. (File photo)
Lawmakers attend a parliamentary session. (File photo)

Parliament on Wednesday night voted for a party-list MP calculation method, which observers say could give small political parties a better chance to have their list MPs in the House after the next polls.

Senators and members of the House of Representatives selected the method in which votes for party-list MP candidates from all parties will be divided by 500. The result will be the minimum votes for a political party to have its list MP. The choice was made with 354 votes in favour, 162 against, 37 abstentions and four no-votes.

Lawmakers rejected the use of 100 to calculate party-list seats. The choice was turned down by 392 votes to 160, with 23 abstentions and two no-votes.

Before the vote, senator Gen Akanit Muensawat said the rejected method would prevent new political parties from entering the House.

Five hundred will be the number of all MPs, including 400 constituency MPs, while 100 represents the number of all list MPs after the next general election.

However, Krit Urwongse, deputy secretary-general of the Election Commission, said the calculation formula of dividing 500 would be problematic because it would result in the number of list MPs exceeding the official number of list MPs set by the constitution.

Opposition-core Pheu Thai Party leader Cholnan Srikaew said he would ask the Constitution Court to consider the issue.

Small parties would find it easier to win a list seat using the new formula. Based on voting figures in the 2019 general election, parties would have needed around 70,000 votes to win a list seat under the model.

However, if the formula of dividing 100 was used instead, a party would have had to capture at least 350,000 votes.

The Pheu Thai Party has been a staunch supporter of the smaller number, as it is confident of capturing many of the 100 seats up for grabs in the party-list system.

The move came after the use of 500 received the green light from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in what is seen as a bid to prevent Pheu Thai from winning a landslide in the next poll, sources said.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Wednesday that if the matter is taken to court, the enactment of the bill on the election of MPs would have to be delayed pending the court's ruling.

The court will need at least a month to consider the matter, Mr Wissanu said, adding that if an election cannot be held as planned, the Election Commission can postpone it.

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