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18 สิงหาคม 2550
 
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A Proportional Election System for Thailand?



Michael H. Nelson



The debate on how to improve the draft constitution prepared by the Constitution Drafting Committee included the surprising suggestion that Thailand should adopt the “German model” of personalized proportional representation or, as it is called in the international literature, mixed-member proportional system (MMP). This expres-sion indicates that there are two kinds of members of parliament (MP)—MPs directly elected in constituencies and party-list MPs—with proportionality being the main principle determining the allocation of seats to parties in an election. A number of Thai-language articles tried to explain and promote this system. Unfortunately, they contained a number of misleading and confusing mistakes that prevented readers from gaining an adequate understanding of this electoral system. Therefore, this brief arti-cle tries to provide some additional information in order to clarify the electoral issues involved.
Until the 1997 Constitution came into effect, the election system used in Thai-land was mostly a plurality system with multiple or block vote. In the last election based on this system, in 1996, there were 156 constituencies divided into seven sin-gle-member constituencies, 61 two-member and 88 three-member constituencies. Thus, there was no equality of the votes. The constitution of 1997 fundamentally changed this system. In the elections of 2001, 2005, and 2006 a plurality system with 400 single-member constituencies (SMC) was combined with proportional representa-tion. One hundred of the House of Representatives’ 500 seats were filled from closed and blocked party lists. In order to receive party-list MPs, a political party had to re-ceive at least five percent of the total number of votes, minus invalid ballots and ab-stentions. Voters thus equally had two votes, one for the constituency candidate and one for the party list. However, unlike in the German model, the constituency and party-list votes were applied separately in a segmented or parallel system, meaning that “Two electoral systems are used to elect members of a parliamentary chamber separately … These two parts of the segmented system are not connected in any way and their respective electoral formulae are also applied separately.” Systems similar to the one used in Thailand are found in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. This system is also called mixed-member majoritarian (MMM), indicating that, like in MMP, there are two kinds of MPs, while the main principle for the allocation of seats is majori-tarian.

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Create Date : 18 สิงหาคม 2550
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