By Thai Newsroom Reporters
PHEU THAI PARTY will call for investigations by independent agencies into allegations that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has unlawfully masterminded Palang Pracharath MPs into breaking the constitution and twisting the electoral system.
In a press conference at parliament today (July 7), Pheu Thai leader Chonlanan Srikaew confirmed the opposition party will soon petition the Election Commission to investigate the allegation that Prayut has pulled the strings over the largest coalition partner Palang Pracharath Party to the extent that the Palang Pracharath MPs yesterday dumped the mixed-member-majority system, earlier approved by a majority of legislators under the amended constitution’s organic law pertaining to the election for MPs, and instead endorsed the mixed-member-proportional system.
As a non-member of the largest coalition party, Prayut did not have the right to interfere in the business of those coalition MPs, Chonlanan said.
The premier allegedly broke the law by manipulating the questionable performance of those Palang Pracharath MPs who, among other pro-government MPs and senators, took a last-minute twist in support of the mixed-member-proportional system, also known as the divided-by-500 formula, and giving up on their previous stand for the mixed-member-majority system, also known as the divided-by-100 formula.
Chonlanan charged that Prayut has unduly satisfied the pro-government splinter parties by managing to have the coalition MPs and senators dump the divided-by-100 formula earlier agreed upon and to choose the divided-by-500 formula which could probably help the splinter parties’ contestants vying in the next general election find their way to parliament again.
Each of the pro-Prayut splinter parties could probably make an MP if they win an estimated 70,000 votes in party-listed mode under the divided-by-500 electoral system, compared to as many as 350,000 votes under the divided-by-100 formula.
In addition, Chonlanan said, Pheu Thai Party will call on the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate the allegation that Prayut has stood behind a deliberate violation of the constitution by having the Palang Pracharath MPs, other coalition MPs and senators dump the electoral system earlier approved by themselves and a severe breach to the code of ethic, otherwise supposedly upheld by all politicians.
Democrat MP Sathit Pitutecha, chairman of the extraordinary parliamentary committee scrutinising the constitution’s organic law, called in vain for the executive branch to not interfere in the business of the legislative branch by allegedly ordering the coalition MPs and senators to alter the electoral system against their own resolution earlier adopted.
Sathit said he would ultimately adhere to the legislative branch which has earlier endorsed amendments to the organic law of the constitution rather than the executive branch of which he concurrently is part. The MP concurrently performs as deputy public health minister.
Yesterday’s event in which an overwhelming 354 votes were cast by the Palang Pracharath MPs and others to endorse the mixed-member-proportional system under the law pertaining to the future election for MPs will be filed to the Constitutional Court to judge whether or not it was constitutional in the first place, Chonlanan said.
Chief opposition whip Suthin Khlangsang called yesterday’s event in which the pro-Prayut lawmakers altered the electoral system again only to satisfy the splinter parties a “shameful” victory.
Suthin said the amended organic law pertaining to the election for MPs might possibly be judged by the Constitutional Court as unconstitutional, thus rendering a legal impasse and prompting the unelected premier to issue an executive decree in place of the aborted law with effect on the next race to parliament.
Chonlanan remarked that Prayut has allegedly manipulated the questionable performance of the coalition MPs and senators in favour of the splinter parties in exchange for the “independent” MPs of the splinter parties to cast a yea vote in his support during an approaching censure/no-confidence motion.
Prayut apparently feared there might not be enough MPs to support him again as head of government after the next election, thus allegedly manipulating the about-face of the coalition MPs in favour of the divided-by-500 electoral system for the sake of the splinter parties, a dozen of which have joined the Palang Pracharath-led coalition following the 2019 election.
The unelected Prayut who rose to power by way of the 2014 coup earlier made it known to the public that he has planned to prolong his rule beyond the next election, supposedly given the unwavering support from the largest coalition partner Palang Pracharath Party, headed by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.
The alleged manipulation of the pro-government majority in the legislative branch apparently followed the much-heralded prediction earlier made by de facto Pheu Thai party leader/former premier Thaksin Shinawatra that the opposition camp will score a “landslide” victory in the next election, thus being given the chance to return to power as core of a post-election government.
Meanwhile, Chonlanan who concurrently performs as opposition leader at parliament said a brand-new party might probably be set up by the name of Pheu Thai Family Party to better cope with the utterly-complicated mixed-member-proportional system applied in the previous election.
The current Pheu Thai MPs will contest the next election in constituency-based mode whilst a number of other prominent partisan members might probably join Pheu Thai Family Party and run in party-listed mode with hopes of stealing MP seats from the splinter parties, according to the Pheu Thai leader.
The next election will see two voting ballots, one for a constituency-based candidate and the other for a contestant party as a whole. There will be a total of 500 elected legislators, including 400 constituency-based MPs and 100 party-listed MPs.
Top: Pheu Thai Party MPs speaking at Parliament today.
Front Page: Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Both photos: Matichon