CDC accepts German method

CDC accepts German method

Constitution drafters have approved in principle a proposal of a reform panel that the German electoral system be used in Thailand's elections.

The approval, however, is not conclusive as the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) will need to hear from the National Reform Council as well, CDC vice-chairman Suchit Bunbongkarn said on Friday.

Under the proposal, MPs will come from constituencies and party lists at the ratio of 200,000 voters to one MP. Every voter gets two separate ballots, one for the constituency and one for the party list. All votes are taken into account when determining the final composition of the House, similar to the German system.

The prime minister will be elected by the House but Section 35(4) of the 2014 interim charter must be strictly followed. It requires mechanisms to be in place to bar "a person ruled guilty by a court or any legal order of corruption or undermining the credibility or fairness of an election from holding any political position".

The third panel, which made the proposal, focuses on creating an effective balance.

"We learned the hard way that when a political party or leader is strong, he tends to abuse power to build a patronage network and use corruption-prone populist policies. So the panel wants to address that," said Mr Suchit.

Under Germany's mixed-member proportional system, there is a constituency vote and a party vote but the party vote determines the final share of all seats that a party wins. If there are 100 MPs split equally between constituencies and the party list and a party wins 10 of the 50 constituencies but 40% of the party vote, it will be entitled to 40 seats in all (40% of 100), so it will get 30 party-list MPs. Parties that win less than 5% of the party vote will not be eligible for party-list seats and their votes will be redistributed proportionally among the other parties.

Mr Suchit also said he had accepted a proposal by Pokin Polakul, an adviser to the Pheu Thai party, that no amnesty clause should be included in the new charter for those toppling the government of the country. He said he had also accepted several more proposals made by other parties and political groups.

"Whether the CDC will adopt or apply them needs more deliberation of the details but the national interest must be the ultimate goal," he said.

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Blast from the past

The State Railway of Thailand launches a special historic steam ride from Bangkok to Chachoengsao in celebration of Father's Day on Dec 5. Photos | Varuth Hirunyatheb