Two Weeks Left to Challenge Party-List MP Results: Scholar

Future Forward Party leaders react to the Election Commission's party-list MPs announcement on May 8, 2019.

BANGKOK — The Constitutional Court could order the Election Commission to recalculate party-list seats if it finds the commission’s seat distribution formula unconstitutional, a veteran poll observer asserted Thursday.

Laddawan Tantivitayapitak, who heads the kingdom’s leading election observation group, said any overturn or changes to the commission’s controversial seat allocations must take place within the next 14 days. This is because the law requires parliament to convene within 15 days after the election results are officially announced.

“After that it will have been fait accompli,” PNET vice-president Laddawan said in an interview, adding that she personally disagreed with the way seats were allocated.

Former Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn shared a similar view on Thursday.

“There could be a re-announcement if the [calculation] was wrong,” said Somchai, who ran in the March 24 election as a member of the Democrat Party.

Their responses came as the Future Forward and Pheu Thai parties vowed on Wednesday to file a legal challenge against the formula used by the Election Commission to allocate party-list MPs.

The official results, announced yesterday, saw 12 small and little-known political parties awarded one party-list MP seat each. The formula used, which the EC insists is legal and constitutional, lowered the expected minimum threshold for one seat from 71,000 votes to 33,754 votes.

Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul has petitioned the EC in protest of the formula. Pheu Thai, who did not gain any party-list MPs despite being the biggest winner of constituency seats, also vowed to file a legal challenge.

Based on official results, the anti-junta faction is now left with 245 seats – down from the projected 251 – and unable to reach the simple majority of 251 seats needed for a coalition government.

The Democrat Party, which commands 52 seats, will likely be the decisive factor in determining who sits in the next government. The party has yet to commit itself to any side.

The Democrats are also in the process of selecting a new leader, after its former chairman Abhisit Vejjajiva resigned in the aftermath of the party’s abysmal performance at the poll.

Additional reporting Teeranai Charuvastra