CDC unveils 13 steps to shake up polls, electoral systems
Panel refines move to MMP, picks for Senate
The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has unveiled 13 objectives it says it needs to meet to overhaul the election and political systems.
The issue was addressed at a seminar yesterday held by the CDC and a sub-committee in charge of receiving recommendations from the National Reform Council (NRC). Representatives of 37 political parties also attended.
CDC member Sujit Boonbongkarn said the objectives seek to produce politically-aware citizens and virtuous politicians and change the election system. The Election Commission (EC) will play a role in setting poll dates and ministry permanent secretaries will help oversee elections.
Other objectives are the pursuit of a well-balanced political structure with participation of all stakeholders; accountable screening of election applicants; examinations of canvassing campaigns; the establishment of a sound election system which makes every vote cast in determining who should be MPs; and a better system for deterring vote buying.
The objectives also include making members of the parliament "real'' representatives of citizens; improving political parties in keeping with the democratic spirit; changing the balance of power in parliament between the government and opposition; ensuring the Senate is represented by various groups of people creating a better political balance; boosting the checks and balances system; and holding those behind political parties or civil servants who commit offences accountable.
CDC spokesman Gen Lertrat Ratanavanich said the electoral system will be tweaked to take into account all votes cast at elections. He said 250 MPs will be drawn from constituencies in the ratio of one MP per 260,000 people and between 200 MPs and 220 MPs from the party list.
Gen Lertrat said the party list contest will be divided into six regions — the North, upper Northeast, lower Northeast, western Central, eastern Central and South. Each political party can field between 32-34 candidates in each region, he said.
Speaking about the adoption of the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) system, he said there will be no minimum vote ceiling for each party to meet to gain a constituency MP. This will allow small parties to be represented in parliament. If a small party receives 60,000-70,000 votes, it can have one or two representatives in parliament, he said.
He said the 200 senators will not be directly elected. They will come from an indirect election method which ensures they represent various occupational groups.
CDC member Nakarin Mektrairat said the MMP system modelled on Germany will be introduced where votes cast in the party list system will also have a bearing on the number of constituency MPs each party will garner.
This is intended to do away with wide voting discrepancies where some parties gain an excessively high number of votes and others too low.
Former deputy Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanavisit said he wanted the CDC to come up with measures enhancing the checks and balances system.
Samart Kaewmeechai, a former Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai, disagreed with the CDC's proposals of setting up a raft of new independent bodies.
Setting up a panel to scrutinise assets and qualifications to help screen candidates may unfairly prevent people from entering elections, he said.