Survey also finds that people prefer elected senators
MOST people favour having party-list MPs and want senators who are directly elected, according to a Bangkok Poll released yesterday.
The survey titled “What do the people think about party-list MPs and the election of senators?”’ was conducted on 1,192 people and found that 57 per cent of respondents do not want to have party-list MPs abolished. They reasoned that the system helps people who are knowledgeable but no good at winning MP seats through election campaigning.
Some 31 per cent of respondents said they wanted party-list MPs scrapped, as they did not want capitalists supporting political parties, while 11 per cent were not sure.
For senators, 58 per cent believed they should be directly elected by the people, 25 per cent said they should be both directly and indirectly elected, nine per cent said they should be indirectly elected by professional groups, 4 per cent want them appointed and 3 per cent said they were not sure.
Some 61 per cent believed having direct elections for senators was a better way to get competent and qualified people than indirect elections, 24 per cent believed indirect elections were better, while 14 per cent were not sure.
Asked who should have the duty to impeach political office holders, 52 per cent said related independent agencies, 35 per cent said senators and 13 per cent were unsure.
Former charter writer Paiboon Nititawan supports the Constitution Drafting Commission’s move to have senators indirectly elected by diverse groups of legal bodies and professionals, reasoning that this method would help get senators with a great diversity and not only those from the military and police force.
He said the CDC should follow what was stipulated in the rejected charter draft by the Borwornsak CDC – that legal bodies with the right to elect senators must have been established no less than three years. This would prevent politicians from establishing new legal bodies to have the right to elect senators, he said.
Paiboon said the qualifications of senators should be as stipulated in the 2007 Charter and the term limited to three years so they do not serve longer than MPs.
Senators should not be allowed to serve two consecutive terms. They should be allowed to rerun after taking one term off, he added.
He said an indirect election of senators by legal bodies and professional groups should materialise immediately after the charter takes effect and not as stipulated in the provisional chapter – that the first set of senators should be appointed according to the CDC’s wishes.
Paiboon supports the move to deprive senators of the right to impeach politicians and give that right to the Constitutional Court.
Former Senate speaker Nikom Wairatpanij disapproves of the proposal to have senators indirectly elected by legal bodies and professional groups, reasoning that he would be concerned that people nominated by these groups would be unqualified and incompetent.
He said these groups should nominate senators and let the public decide.
The Election Commission must clearly identify the qualifications needed to be a Senate candidate.
Nikom agreed with depriving the Senate of the right to impeach politicians but did not want the Constitutional Court to have the power.
He said the Supreme Court’s Political Division for Political Officer Holders should have this responsibility because the Supreme Court had clearer court procedures than the Constitutional Court.
Meanwhile CDC member Thitipan Chuabunchai said a public hearing on the charter draft to be held in Hat Yai today would seek opinions on key issues: desired rights; the liberty and duties of the people; the desired responsibilities of the state; the desired election systems; the desired distribution of power; and the desired national reforms.
An online survey will be conducted so that people who do not attend the public hearing can offer their opinion.
Thitipan said the CDC would not seek opinions about charter content that have been settled or are being considered such as how to calculate the number of MPs for each party from the one-ballot election system.