EC’s decision to give every party a chance raises concerns

politics April 06, 2019 13:00

By The Nation

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THE Election Commission (EC) revealed on Friday that it will calculate MP-seat allocation based on a formula that will allow more than 25 parties to be present in the Lower House. This decision was made after different interpretations of the law were debated extensively.

The agency’s public relations team said the commissioners will stick to the formula proposed to them by the now-defunct charter drafting team. This formula was based on stipulations in the Constitution and the MP election laws, they said. “The aim is to give importance to every vote,” they explained. “The agency has already consulted with commissioners and they agree on this.” 

This calculation method will have party-list MPs come from at least 25 parties, the agency said, despite concerns that a multi-party government will be unstable. 

Concerns are also looming that of these 25 parties, some had only won a little over 30,000 votes, when initial calculations showed that parties need roughly 70,000 votes to be allocated one seat. 

However, the EC pointed out that this was only an initial calculation and that official results will only be ready once all the re-counts and re-elections are completed. 

While the EC insists this calculation allows every vote to truly count as intended by the Constitution, experts are worried that this may also be unconstitutional, considering the law that says parties should not be given seats they were not apportioned.

Meanwhile, despite fierce criticism against its questionable performance, the EC has gone ahead and filed defamation lawsuits against political activist Nuttaa Mahuttana and political critic Sirote Klampaiboon.

In a Facebook post on Friday, Sirote said he had received summonses demanding that he and Nuttaa report to police on April 11. The complaint against the pair had been filed by the EC’s legal chief Nawat Boonsri, accusing them of jointly defaming the EC. 

Sirote, perplexed about what he had done to defame the EC, also said this is the first time in his life that he has received a summons from the police. 

Nuttaa said on Facebook that the charge against her may have stemmed from a special news programme the two of them hosted on election day. Both have promised to report to police as ordered.