Student activists collect signatures for a petition to impeach the Election Commission Tuesday at Thammasat University, Tha Prachan campus.
Student activists collect signatures for a petition to impeach the Election Commission Tuesday at Thammasat University, Tha Prachan campus.

BANGKOK — The Election Commission should be transparent and thorough in announcing the formula it will use to compute the distribution of party-list MPs, said a prominent election observer on Tuesday.

The warning from P-Net, Thailand’s largest group of independent election observers, came after the Election Commission’s secretary general Jarungvith Phumma revealed that the commission will release the formula by the conclusion of this week. Jarungvith added that the commission has yet to compute the number of party-list MPs.

“In order to create trust, they need to make the process transparent,” said Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, the vice president of P-Net, on the phone.

The issue of how to compute the distribution of party-list MPs has become contentious since the election a week ago, since different interpretations of the law could result in different formulas. Various parties and media organizations have come up with different computations as the commission has refused to release the number of party-list MPs.

While Laddawan acknowledged that revealing the formula only after polling could be perceived as a partial act, she believes that the commission genuinely did not foresee the mathematical complexity of computing party-list MPs.

“They have to explain the formula used that is in line with the intention of the law,” said Laddawan, noting that she is not mathematically qualified to make a decision on the matter.

Before the March 24 general election, it was widely understood that some 70,000 votes are needed to secure one party-list seat. Now some computations claim that less than 50,000 votes will suffice.

In a related development, Election Commissioner Pakorn Mahannop defended the commission’s decision not to count 1,542 advanced voting ballots from New Zealand. Pakorn compared the ballots to raffle tickets which arrive after the prizes have already been given.

“Please think about various elections and raffles. Once the process is done, all cards and documents submitted to exercise one’s rights cannot be counted,” said Pakorn.

Laddawan criticised the comparison of the election to a raffle. She added that it was the commission, rather than voters, which had failed to be attentive enough to pick up the ballot papers in time.

“They can’t just excuse themselves,” said Laddawan.