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

The Thaiger & The Nation

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

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

Election

Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises

The Thaiger

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Palang Pracharat are warned not to renege on Thai ministry promises | The Thaiger

Amidst rumours circulating that the Palang Pracharat Party may renege on some of the promises it made to secure MP votes from the Democrats and Bhumjaithai, the Democrat party leader Jurin Laksanavisit says he believes the Palang Pracharat party will keep its promises.

Thepthai Senpong MP, a key Democrat party member, is warning that the coalition government will be in big trouble if the promise is broken. He says the coalition government would “function with great difficulty” if the Palang Pracharat party does not stick to the promises it made to the Democrats, according to Thai PBS.

Meanwhile, Somsak Thepsutin, one of the Sam Mitr faction within Palang Pracharat, says that if one of their group isn’t offered the agriculture minister’s post (reportedly offered to the Democrats as part of the ‘deal’), the promises they made with Thai voters during the election campaign could be affected.

Somsak has already spoken of his aspirations to become the next agriculture minister, despite the portfolio being used as a political football during negotiations with the Democrats.

But the new leader of the Democrats, Jurin Laksanavisit insists that the issue of the quota of ministries for his MPs has already been settled. He re-iterated yesterday that Palang Pracharat would not go back on its promises to the Democrats. He added that he had not been informed of any changes to their arrangements despite being aware of the media reports about the prevarication.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | The Nation

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Election

Palang Pracharat still quibbling over portfolios in the new Thai parliament

The Thaiger

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Palang Pracharat still quibbling over portfolios in the new Thai parliament | The Thaiger

Election – check. Vote for PM – check. New government sworn in – not quite yet.

There is still a reported back-room fight over cabinet portfolios between factions in the Palang Pracharat Party. Several key ministries were offered to Bhumjaithai and Democrat MPs in return for voting for Prayut Chan-o-cha as PM on Wednesday.

Now that Prayut’s been installed back behind the big desk at government house, there have been sources reporting wrangling and possible back-tracking over the promises made preceding the parliamentary vote on Wednesday.

  • The Democrats were promised the agriculture, commerce and social development ministries while the Bhumjaithai were reportedly offered the Transport Ministry post.
  • Palang Pracharat MPs claim that, as the leading party in the coalition, it should control key ministries to follow through on its election promises.
  • PPRP list MP Somsak Thepsuthin, a leading figure of the “Sam Mitr” faction in Palang Pracharat, claims the party needs control of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry and that PM Prayut will have a final say on the matter (a notion that was flatly denied by the PPRP last week).
  • Palang Pracharat MP Buddhipongse Punnakanta admits the quota of cabinet posts for coalition parties “might” change but didn’t detail any of the Cabinet position affected, including the position of agriculture minister.
  • Newly elected House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, a former Democrat PM, waded into the issue yesterday saying he was sure that Palang Pracharat would honour the promises made in regards to Cabinet posts offered to the Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties.
  • Democrat leader Jurin Laksanavisit says the deal with the PPRP was singed and sealed and believes it would be honoured.
  • Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charvirakul says the agreement with the PPRP remains unchanged, and insisted the party will push for its election pledges to be implemented.
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Election

“We were robbed of victory” – Future Forward’s Thanathorn

The Thaiger

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“We were robbed of victory” – Future Forward’s Thanathorn | The Thaiger

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the 40 year old Future Forward leader who was up against Prayut Chan-o-cha for the position of PM yesterday, says that the pro-democracy alliance hasn’t conceded defeat but, he says, were “robbed of their victory”.

He is vowing to work harder outside parliament to prove that to the people.

“This election is just one battle in the long journey to achieve democracy. We fiercely believe that, in the end, our day will come. Dictatorship cannot resist the winds of change, the winds of democracy. The people will cry for freedom, cry for justice.”

Thanathorn was nominated by the Pheu Thai-led alliance as their sole PM candidate for yesterday’s vote, admitted that he had little hope that both the Democrat and the Bhumjaithai parties would make the “right decision”. Without their vote the Pheu Thai alliance wouldn’t have a majority in the lower house to make a stand (even though the Senate’s votes – 250 – would have carried Prayut Chan-o-cha over the finish line anyway). As it was he only missed winning the vote in the lower house by a handful of votes.

Thai PBS reports that, despite the election defeat, the firebrand young politician pleaded with all democracy advocates not to lose hope, but to move forward with him.

“I would like to tell my brothers and sisters that this is not our end, it is just the beginning,” he said, adding that the election result was a proof that they did not work hard enough and must strive harder.

“Future Forward party would divide its work and resources into three main areas; its MPs will undertake legislative work and check the performance of the government, the party will prepare for the forthcoming local elections and strengthen the party.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS

“We were robbed of victory” - Future Forward's Thanathorn | News by The Thaiger

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