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Court says party-list seat calculation is constitutional




In news unlikely to shock anyone, the Constitutional Court has ruled unanimously that Article 128 of the MP Election Act, regarding the calculation of the 150 party-list seat allocation, is constitutional. They’ve ruled that it does not conflict with Article 91 of the Constitution.

The Charter Court’s ruling has been released in a statement which was timed to perfection before the Election Commission was set to announce the official results of the sharing of party-list seats among the parties contesting the March 24 general election.

The issue has been contentious with differing opinions especially between the Election Commission and the Pheu Thai-led coalition. Pheu Thai was saying the Election Commission would weaponise the vagueness in the Article 128 wording to make a Palang Pracharat coalition more likely.

Thai PBS reports that the court ruled that Article 128 of the MP Election Act was an extension of Article 91 of the Constitution in a way that provides more details about the calculation so that all the 150 party-list seats are allocated.

However, the court’s ruling has fallen short of clearly endorsing the EC’s formula, which ensures that smaller parties, which received fewer than the 70,000 votes for one seat, would be given at least one party-list seat.

The EC’s formula will mean that about 20 smaller parties will be allocated a seat each instead of just 16 parties which gained more than 70,000 votes.  This method of calculation will eat into the seats that some of the big parties expected to get, namely Future Forward, Palang Pracharat, Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties.

Pheu Thai is the only party which will not be affected because it is not eligible for any party-list seat because it won more constituency seats than the party-list seats it would receive.

After being informed of the Court’s ruling, the Future Forward party submitted a petition to the EC’s Office to remind the EC that the court did not rule in favour of the EC’s formula of seat calculation. FF’s secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokul insisted that only 16 parties contesting the general election were eligible to receive party-list seats, not all the 27 parties.



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