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Election Commission’s ‘formula’ lands 27 parties in Lower House

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The Election Commission has announced that a total of 26 parties have secured party-list MP seats in the new Lower House. 11 of the parties didn’t even win enough votes to be entitled to the seats under the guidelines announced before the election.

The EC deputy secretary-general Sawang Boonmee refused to explain why the junta-appointed poll authority had chosen this controversial formula to calculate party-list seats, saying only that it followed a stipulation in the organic law.

“That stipulation does not go against the Constitution,” he said.

“This is the correct formula. There are no other formulas. So, we only considered this method, unless the Constitutional Court had said otherwise.”

The EC’s decision to allocate seats to 26 parties came amid strong pressure from politicians who have constantly warned the move was unconstitutional and they may pursue legal action against the poll agency.

The anti-junta Pheu Thai Party, which won the highest number of seats from constituencies, is the only party without a party-list MP in the lower house.

The calculation of party-list MPs became a controversial point after parties said different methods might be unconstitutional as what the charter and the organic laws say differ.

However, the Constitutional Court said yesterday that the organic law only offers details of the calculation to make it possible to fill the 500 member House of Representatives and that it was not unconstitutional.

With the EC’s calculation method, as many as 27 parties will enter Parliament, and 11 of them will have just one seat each. Some of these 11 parties did not win half of the 71,065 votes required – a figure that was obtained from the initial calculation suggested by the Constitution.

This also puts the anti-junta bloc at risk of failing to muster the 250 MPs it requires to legitimately set up a government. At best, the task of forming a workable coalition is much more difficult now.

Meanwhile, the small parties that won one seat each from the party-list tended to favour the pro-junta Phalang Pracharat to help the junta continue in power.

Pheu Thai issued a statement yesterday vowing to take legal action against the EC for its calculation in favour of the pro-junta camp. The party insisted the decision was unconstitutional and hence the agency’s action should be deemed malfeasance.

Earlier, Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul also took to social media, pressing the EC not to exploit the court verdict as a safety guard to endorse its problematic interpretation of law.

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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