On stealing the election XII

9 05 2019

As expected, the military junta has “won” the “election” it spent five years rigging, but only just and thanks to puppet agencies that went to work massaging the “election” results.

After the junta-supporting Constitutional Court ruled that the puppet Election Commission was empowered to decide how to “count” votes for the party list system, the EC did its assigned duty.

After all the “debate” over party list allocations, EC deputy secretary-general Sawang Boonmee is reported to have “admitted that only one formula was proposed to the commissioners – the one rejected by critics and [some] parties.”

In other words, for the EC, the debate was irrelevant; all it needed was Constitutional Court’s stamp of approval. It got that yesterday and the EC immediately called a press conference to announce the results, complete with a “14-page explanation of how the controversial calculation method worked.”

According to The Nation, the EC announced that “26 parties had secured party-list MP seats despite 11 of the parties not winning enough votes to be entitled to the seats and only 16 being eligible.” Instead of the 71,000 votes most critics considered needed to gain a party list seat, the EC gave seats to micro-parties that gained only about 30,000 votes in a total vote of in excess of 33 million. This means that some micro-parties with less than 0.1% of votes have gained a seat in parliament.

The calculation method is deliberately complicated and was designed by the junta’s puppet Constitution Drafting Committee for the junta and its party’s benefit. We note that even statistically-oriented political scientists were unable to produce estimates that match the EC’s startling “result.”

Of course, the EC’s “method” was meant to produce as many micro-parties as possible while taking party list seats away from parties like Future Forward – where there’s a difference of 7-8 seats based on the “method” used. More micro-parties means that the junta’s Palang Pracharath will still have trouble in the lower house, but can buy the support it needs.

On this, the Palang Pracharath Party’s MP Suchart Tancharoen has stated that he expects to be House speaker and that he’s “ready to deal” with “unruly” MPs from micro-parties. This is in the context of controlling parliament, but it is actually to the benefit of Palang Pracharath, which can buy micro-party MPs and “rent” others from some of the larger parties.

This is because – again – the junta’s “2017 charter allows MPs to freely voice opinions without the need to fall in line with their parties’ stance, which could play havoc with party discipline. Suchart helpfully explains: “I don’t want these MPs to be called ‘cobras’…. They just follow the constitution that grants them free expression of opinions and votes…”.

The outcome of the EC’s fiddling is that the anti-junta bloc will be able to put together the 250 MPs required to claim government in the lower house, probably holding around 245 seats, with more than 40 EC “investigations,” most of them targeting ant-junta parties, that could move even more seats to the junta’s party.

Hence, as expected, Palang Pracharath is negotiating deals with smaller parties on the allocation of lucrative cabinet seats and coalition.

Then there’s the unelected senate, which will be entirely pro-junta and pro-Palang Pracharath. More on that later.

In the end, the junta has manufactured the result it wanted, based on rigging and five years of manipulation and repression. The only small surprise for PPT was that the people’s voting didn’t allow the junta to win by the margins it had planned for.


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9 05 2019
On stealing the election XIII | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] minutes of the Election Commission handing out party list seats to a gaggle of mostly unknown micro-parties, all but one of them have put up their individual hand […]