Parliament approves list-MP calculation favouring big parties

Parliament approves list-MP calculation favouring big parties

Parliament President Chuan Leekpai, from the chair, announces the lack of quorum for a vote on the list-MP calculation method with the 500 divisor, in the parliament chamber on Monday morning. (Screenshot)
Parliament President Chuan Leekpai, from the chair, announces the lack of quorum for a vote on the list-MP calculation method with the 500 divisor, in the parliament chamber on Monday morning. (Screenshot)

The parliament on Monday approved a list-MP election calculation method that favours big political parties after an amendment that would have benefitted small parties failed to attract a quorum.

Parliament President Chuan Leekpai on Monday morning opened a joint sitting of the House and Senate to vote on the amended list-MP election bill, which would have calculated the number of list-MPs for political parties by dividing a party's list-MP votes by 500, the total size of House after the coming general election.

This method would favour small parties because each party would need fewer votes to have a list MP.

Mr Chuan said the joint sitting initially had the needed 364 lawmakers signed in to make a quorum - at least half of the combined chambers, which currently have 727 members. 

Fifteen minutes later, when he called for a vote on the list-MP calculation method with the 500 divisor, only 349 MPs were signed in, showing the session lacked a quorum, Mr Chuan said.

He adjourned the meeting.

The parliament was then considered to have automatically passed the list-MP calculation method using the 100 divisor, the number of actual seats for list MPs, as the cabinet earlier proposed. The Election Commission drafted the approved method.

"Do not criticise absent MPs as being lazy. It is a reflection of the stance they have taken on the proposed law," Mr Chuan said.

The 180-day deadline for the original bill's passage was Monday, Aug 15. Without the vote on the amendment, the original bill was passed.


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