Last election hurdle cleared as Constitutional Court endorses MPs election bill


The Constitutional Court on Wednesday unanimously endorsed the constitutionality of the MPs election bill, clearing the last hurdle before the next general election scheduled for 2023.

The court said that the nine judges viewed the MPs election bill as drafted under the provisions of Section 132 of the Constitution and it has no wordings or provisions that would contradict Section 93 and Section 94 of the Constitution of Thailand.

A group of 105 MPs and senators had signed a petition to ask the court to rule whether Section 25 and 26 of the MPs election bill would violate Section 93 and 94 of the Constitution.

The 105 MPs and senators had alleged that the bill had not properly passed the enactment process as required by the Constitution because it had not been vetted by a parliamentary committee.

They argued that Section 25 would violate Section 93 of the charter because it would cancel the prohibition in Section 93 on the counting of votes in constituencies where by-elections need to be held, as votes for sharing party-list House seats.

They also pointed out that Section 26 would violate Section 94 because it would cancel a requirement in Section 94 for recalculating party-list House seats in a year if some constituency MPs are found to have cheated in the election.

But the court disagreed and ruled the bill was valid constitutionally.

On November 9, the court had announced that it had enough information to issue a ruling on Wednesday.

In the next step, the Constitutional Court will inform the Parliament president of its ruling so that the prime minister can be informed to send the bill for a royal command that will officially enact the bill. The prime minister is scheduled to send the bill for a royal command within 20 days.

The MPs election bill — the version of the Election Commission — will use the divisor of 100, which is the total number of party-list MPs, for calculation of party-list House seats.

Small and micro parties prefer the use of the 500 divisor, which is the total number of House seats, because they would stand a much better chance to be allocated one or two House seats from the party-list election.

Earlier, Rawee Maschamadol, leader and party-list MP of the New Palang Dharma Party, said he and 104 other parliamentarians questioned the validity of the election bill and political party bill because they had not been properly vetted. They also suspect that the two bills would violate the intention of the Constitution that would share party-list House seats on the principle that all votes must be taken into account – even votes for failed candidates.

The two bills were taken up for use after the bills that had been vetted failed to clear the third reading in Parliament within the 180-day deadline due to repeated lack of quorum.

Rawee accused major parties of playing games to cause the lack of quorum in order to sink the vetted bill that would use the 500-divisor for party-list House seat calculation.

On November 23, the Constitutional Court voted unanimously to endorse the constitutionality of the political party bill.

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