Agency will listen to all opinions, including EX-charter drafters and NLA
IN LIGHT of the extensive debate about the formula that will be used for calculating MP seats, the Election Commission (EC) secretary-general Jarungvith Phumma said yesterday that he expected the agency to make a decision this week.
Though the commissioners have yet to agree on a particular method of calculation, he said they will have to go by what is stipulated by the Constitution and related laws.
At least two formulas, based on different interpretations of the law, are being advanced. One formula allows as many as 11 small parties to gain at least one seat in Parliament, while the other allocates seats to bigger parties that have gained a bigger share of votes.
The formula the EC opts for will have an impact on the formation of the government and will determine which camp – pro- or anti-junta – controls the Lower House. Hence, politicians and the public have been pushing the agency to reveal the calculation method that it will use.
Jarungvith has said the EC will listen to all arguments and will also study relevant laws before answering the public. “Remember, the EC did not draw up these laws; it’s only the enforcer,” he said. “And we haven’t started calculating yet.”
Members of the now-defunct Constitution Drafting Commission and National Legislative Assembly will be invited to give inputs on the matter, he said, adding the EC will make an announcement as soon as it reaches a conclusion. “No matter what, we have to announce and endorse the election results by May 9,” he said, referring to the deadline set by the Constitution. “We are not pressured by this calculation issue. We just have to go by the law.”
As for moves to have the EC members removed due to alleged irregularities, the secretary-general said the public had every right to do this and that the agency could only provide an explanation on what had happened.
Separately, EC member Pakorn Mahannop yesterday blamed local agents for the irregularities.
“The more than 700,000 referees were villagers, teachers and personnel from the Interior Ministry, so some, maybe 10 or 100, made mistakes,” he said in a speech delivered to subcommittees investigating election-related irregularities. “This is what the EC has to investigate to uphold justice.”
As for the 4 million extra ballots that emerged after the election, Pakorn said that when the EC announced a turnout of some 33 million people, only 93 per cent of the vote had been tallied.
“So, that’s over 2 million more that hadn’t been counted. Plus, it hadn’t included the more than 2 million ballots from advance voting,” he said. “These are the 4 million extra ballots. They were not extra ballots added after the election and that is the truth.”
As for the ballots from New Zealand, Pakorn said they were like raffle coupons that arrived too late and could not possibly be included in the draw.
“You cannot ask us to count it after the process has already been completed,” the commissioner said. “That’s why we ruled that they could not be counted. It was not a question of them being valid or invalid.”