Many party-linked Senate candidates tipped to win
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Many party-linked Senate candidates tipped to win

But outgoing Senate speaker says winners should be judged on performance, not connections

Senate candidates in Bangkok cast votes in the provincial-level election at the Centara Life Government Complex Hotel & Convention Centre on June 16. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Senate candidates in Bangkok cast votes in the provincial-level election at the Centara Life Government Complex Hotel & Convention Centre on June 16. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Major political parties, including the opposition Move Forward Party, will likely see a large number of their representatives or allies win seats in the final round of the Senate election, outgoing Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said on Wednesday.

Results of the vote to elect 200 new senators are expected on July 2, after the national-level vote takes place next Wednesday, he said.

“As you know, we don’t really know who will win. But in my estimation, the large parties, including Move Forward, will likely win many seats,” he said.

“There are expected to be quite a number of successful candidates who are independents in this race as well.”

All in all, this expected outcome will help improve diversity in the composition of the new Senate, he said.

Among the 250 members of the current military-appointed Senate, about 110 are serving or retired military personnel or police officers.

While lobbying for votes in the final round might of the election might not be unusual, vote buying is illegal and needs to handled by the Election Commission (EC), said Mr Pornpetch.

“Wait and see how free and fair this Senate election will turn out to be. Of course, some signs of irregularities have already been observed and it’s the EC’s responsibility to deal with them,” he said.

Mr Pornpetch said some winning candidates will have links to particular parties but they should not be judged solely on those connections. It will make more sense to judge these new senators on how they perform, he said.

Moreover, the new Senate won’t have the authority to take part in the selection of a new prime minister in parliament as the outgoing Senate did, he said.

Serving from May 11, 2019 until May 10 this year, the outgoing Senate was dubbed “provisional” because its 250 members were appointed with a special provision in the 2017 constitution, which granted them the authority to take part in a parliamentary vote to select a new prime minister.

The outgoing Senate was the country’s 12th and the first formed since the 2014 coup that toppled the caretaker government appointed after former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra was removed from office in a Constitutional Court ruling.

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