By Thai Newsroom Reporters
A PROMINENT ACADEMIC has reminded all MPs of the basic principle that they all have been elected as representatives of the people and not the powers that be who might possibly have the highly questionable electoral system retwisted.
Pichai Rattanadilok na Phuket, director of National Institute of Development Administration’s Political and Development Strategies Project, today (July 29) insisted that all MPs constantly represent the people and perform in the course of utmost interests of the people instead of succumbing to the whims of the powers that be, especially regarding the time-consuming, debatable amendment to the constitution’s organic laws pertaining to the election for MPs and political parties.
Pichai apparently referred to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who had allegedly masterminded the twisting in the voting process from the mixed-member-majority system, also known as the divided-by-100 formula, earlier endorsed by a majority of legislators in both the House of Representatives and Senate, to the mixed-member-proportional system, also known as the divided-by-500 formula.
Yet, Prayut might possibly change his mind again and opt for the retwisting of the voting process by the lawmakers in both the House and Senate in order to reintroduce the single-ballot/divided-by-500 system which was applied in the 2019 general election and saw him successfully named as head of a Palang Pracharath Party-led coalition government.
In a joint House/Senate meeting earlier this month, an overwhelming majority of lawmakers made the last-minute twist by resolving to use the mixed-member-proportional formula for those who run for MPs in party-listed mode alongside the earlier-resolved use of two voting ballots but Prayut has been lately encouraged to return to the use of a single ballot alongside the divided-by-500 formula as had been the case for the 2019 general election.
The NIDA academic contended that the elected MPs should never make such aboutface at the whims of the powers-that-be or else they would certainly be deemed as their tools and no longer representatives of the people.
The reputation and prestige of the House of Representatives would certainly be ruined if the elected legislators finally surrendered to the demands of the unelected premier who would undoubtedly exert his efforts to keep Pheu Thai Party from scoring a “landslide” victory in the next general election and setting up a fresh coalition government.
Prayut who has earlier proclaimed his intention to prolong his rule for five more years from now would prefer that a number of contestants running under the tickets of splinter parties be re-elected so that they could join ranks of those who may endorse him as head of a post-election government again.
The NIDA academic made his comments after some leading coalition figures had expressed their recent preferences for the use of the divided-by-100 formula for fear that the divided-by-500 formula could possibly otherwise lead to no MP seats for those vying under their partisan banners in party-listed mode as had been the case of the Pheu Thai party-listed candidates running in the 2019 election.
Many lawmakers on both sides of the parliament chamber’s aisle have so far aired strong disapproval to the possible reuse of the single-ballot/divided-by-500 system despite the fact that the constitution has already been amended for the future use of the two-ballot system.
Deputy Prime Minister-cum-Public Health Minister/Bhumjaithai party leader Anutin Charnvirakul earlier remarked that he himself might possibly not be elected despite his being the Number One Bhumjaithai candidate in party-listed mode if the mixed-member-proportional system was eventually applied.
According to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, none of Palang Pracharath Party’s party-listed contestants might possibly be elected under the divided-by-500 formula.
Though the rank and file of Pheu Thai Party have repeatedly shrugged off such legal controversy, saying they could contest in any perceivable system, the so-called Pheu Thai Family might possibly be set up as a brand-new party for some prominent figures to contest in party-listed mode, leaving others vying in constituency-based mode for MP seats.
Whereas joint House/Senate meetings are yet to finally choose a certain voting system as part of the time-consuming amendment to the organic law governing the election for MPs, it remains to be seen whether the Election Commission and the Constitutional Court will separately judge the legislators-resolved electoral system as constitutional or not.
The current government’s term is scheduled to end next March whilst Prayut might possibly dissolve the House and call a general election anytime between now and then, thus being given a 60-day time to campaign. The campaign period would be cut to 45 days if the government’s four-year term completely ended in March.
Top: Prominent academic Pichai Rattanadilok na Phuket. Photo: Matichon
Front Page: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Photo: CNN