Parliament passes two-ballot electoral system by overwhelming majority
A joint parliamentary session on Friday passed the proposed two-ballot electoral system, by an overwhelming 472 votes to 33, in the third and final reading of the only constitutional amendment draft accepted out of 13 submitted.
23 MPs and 149 Senators voted in favour, with 23 MPs and 10 senators voting against. 121 MPs and 66 senators abstained.
The newly accepted amendment, pending royal endorsement, seeks to change the 350 constituency MPs and 150 Party List MPs ratio to 400:100.
The proposal is popular among major parties, as the new system is believed to benefit them, with the possibility of more seats, while eroding the representation of smaller parties.
The one-ballot system, implemented in the 2019 general elections, was meant to prevent any party, especially Pheu Thai, currently the largest Opposition party, from forming a single-party government or being the majority in a coalition. It, in turn, rewarded the new, but now-defunct Future Forward Party with unexpected success in the election and created a highly fractured government coalition, with about a dozen parties with only one MP each.
Among the 13 proposed drafts, Pheu Thai’s proposal to establish a charter writing assembly was the first to be rejected by the House Speaker, without even being debated, on the grounds that the move was not lawful because a rewrite of the Constitution was not the purpose, only amendments.
Other drafts sought to increase people’s rights, especially in the justice system, improve the economy and, most significantly, end the Senate’s power to select a prime minister, which was what occurred in 2019 when Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was voted back into power, without even contesting the election.