Doubts over Election Commission’s Party List Allocations Grow

Lawyer and activist Arnon Nampa, right, leads a protest against the Election Commission Sunday at Bangkok’s Victory Monument. Photo: Thai Lawyers for Human Rights / Twitter
Lawyer and activist Arnon Nampa, right, leads a protest against the Election Commission Sunday at Bangkok’s Victory Monument. Photo: Thai Lawyers for Human Rights / Twitter

BANGKOK — A growing number of groups and parties are expressing doubts over the fairness of the Election Commission’s calculation of party-list MP seats.

The chorus includes major political parties, a mathematician and the kingdom’s leading independent poll observation group. The reactions came after the Election Commission released a statement on Friday saying no less than 25 political parties will obtain at least one party-list seat.

Before the election, the commission estimated that a minimum of 70,000 votes would be needed for the allocation of one party-list seat. Under an elaborate new formula released by the commission, the threshold is reduced to 35,000.

This will enable a dozen or so small parties to obtain a party-list MP seat, leading to questions over whether the new formula aims to enable small parties in the pro-junta camp to enter parliament.

Laddawan Tantivitayapitak of P-NET, the country’s leading independent poll observation group, said on Sunday that the commission must consider the issue of legitimacy.

“At the beginning, [the threshold] was specified at 71,000 per seat. Shouldn’t we stick to that figure?” she asked in a statement released on Sunday.

In a stunt, former Election Commissioner turned Democrat Party MP candidate Somchai Srisuthiyakorn held a mock class on Monday afternoon showing it is possible to come up with different computations depending on how the formula released by the commission on Friday is interpreted. The formula was released in the form of a worded explanation, rather than a mathematical equation.

Besides the Democrat Party, other parties casting doubts over the allocation of party-list MP seats include Pheu Thai and Future Forward Party.

Future Forward party leader Thanathorn Juangroonruangkit said on Sunday he fears it may be “unfair” that the number of votes required for a party-list seat has dropped after the conclusion of polling.

In a related development, human rights lawyer Arnon Nampa staged a protest at Victory Monument on Sunday evening after he was accused of defaming the commission. Arnon vows to carry out the protest every evening at the same spot. At least seven people have been accused of committing libel against the commission so far.