Pheu Thai to seek NACC probe over party-list seat calculation change

Thailand’s main opposition party Pheu Thai is planning to ask the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate the conduct of senators and MPs who vote in favour of amending the electoral law, to return to the basis of 500, instead of 100, for the calculation of party-list seat allocation, Pheu Thai MP Somkid Chueakong said today (Monday).

The calculation using 500 will benefit small parties in a way in which they will stand a better chance of being allocated party-list seats. It will not, however, benefit major parties, such as the Pheu Thai party, which is expected to win most constituency seats and may not be awarded a party-list seat, as was the case in the last general election. So, the change of the calculation method is being viewed as an attempt to undercut the Pheu Thai party.

Some political commentators, however, do not think there are major differences between the two options.

Somkid said that the party will wait until parliament has voted to approve the amendment in its final reading, adding that they may also take the case to the Constitutional Court, seeking a ruling on this issue.

Government chief whip Nirote Sunthornlekha shrugged off Somkid’s threat, insisting that senators and MPs have the right to change the method for the calculation of party-list seat allocation.

A parliamentary scrutiny committee is in the process of vetting the proposed amendments to the electoral law, after the minority members of the panel proposed a change in the calculation method, by reverting to the use of 500 instead of 100.

Nirote said that House Speaker Chuan Leekpai will discuss how to proceed with the proposed amendment with the government and opposition whips and the cabinet, adding that they can either bring forward the deliberation of the issue for tomorrow or to leave it according to the agenda.

Under the current electoral law, the House of Representatives is made up of 400 constituency seats and 100 party-list seats, instead of 350 constituency seats and 150 party-lest seats as was used in the 2019 General Election. The two-ballot system including the change in the MP ratio is the only constitutional amendment proposal, out of 13, to be approved in Parliament in September 2021.


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