Thai electoral reform and gerrymanderingBy Bangkok Pundit May 28, 2014 3:00AM UTC
BP doesn’t normally quote e-mails, but as not attributing the e-mail to the person and the person wants BP to write a post about the issues they raise in the e-mail,* will do so in this post.
In your analysis of whether or not reform will go ‘far enough’ to shut out Thaksin and if that will be acceptable, could you please write about the composition of the two houses. As far as I can tell there are two very obvious flaws that are at the heart of Peau Thai’s dilemma:
1. Weighted gerrymander that benefits the rural North/east
2. A partisan senate resulting from a non-preportional representation.
In the 2007 election (the last time there was no boycotts) the national vote (party list) was more or less equal (14 million votes to two main parties), yet Peua Thai somehow got 248 seats in parliament and the Democrats 160, clearly something is amiss here, likely because the remote areas have fewer people per constituency resulting from geographical size.
I’ve yet to come across any academic or journalist pointing out that the current ‘senate by province’ setup isn’t fair either since it results in 8 million in Bangkok voting in 1 Senator and 8 million in the North voting in about 20 Senators. Knowing, as we do, that they are partisan, this too tips the weight into the Peua Thai camp. Thus their solution for a truly representative, fully elected Senate, is devious.
Now, based on a ‘landslide’ victory in the parliament, even though their popularity by ‘person’ isn’t that much greater than the Democrats, Peua Thai falsely claim (and no doubt believe their own hype) that they are overwhelmingly the ‘people’s choice’ when in fact they are merely the winners (first among equals) with less than 50% of the electoral support. A lot of their arrogant activity has been based on this, leading them to act way beyond their remit with the result being another coup. No one seems to understand this critical aspect of the perpetual failure of Peua Thai to retain respect and stability as a government.
I’m surprised how many Thais I’m meeting who fully support the coup, and I can only surmise it’s because they were truly appalled at the ousted government’s abuse of power and feel that strong medicine is needed.
I’d appreciate your views on this next time you discuss the ‘numbers’.
We could, for example, have a US federal system whereby the next Prime Minister could well be Korn, while the parliament is Peua Thai and the Senate Democrat, similar to other respectable ‘democracies’, of course there will be a side who consider that ‘undemocratic’.
BP: First, the last election that there were no boycotts was the 2011 election (the PAD campaigned for a ‘vote no’ in 2011 so don’t see how that could be considered a boycott). Second, in the 2011 election, the party vote was not equal. It was 15.7 million for Puea Thai vs 11.4 million for the Democrats. The constituency vote which determines the breakdown for 375 of the 500 constituency seats was also not equal. It was 14.2 million for Puea Thai vs 10.1 million for the Democrats (the party vote in 2007 was fairly equal with PPP winning only 200 votes more than the Democrats although they also won 4 million more constituency votes). Third, in neither 2007 nor 2011 did Puea Thai win 248 seats (in 2007, they won 233 seats and in 2011, they wont 265 seats.)
On gerrymandering, this is wrong again. From 2011 election,
BP: There is no gerrymandering to give the North and the Northeast an unfair advantage. If anything, it is the Democrat-strong South which has the slight advantage although it is very minor and such anomalies often happen as impossible to get a purely equal system when constituencies are per province.
On Senate, it was the 2007 Constitution (as drafted by the coup-installed CDA) that had the 1 Senator per province idea. This was to be changed in the charter amendment by the government last year (which was ruled unconstitutional by the Senate). The Nation:
The amendment bill seeks to cancel appointment of senators, who are viewed by many as representing the “old power regime”, and have 200 senators elected from throughout the country, with the number from each province based on the size of the population.
BP: So it was not some devious plan to gerrymander to the disadvantage of Bangkok. It would be back to a percentage based on population.
BP is not opposed to a federal system.
*The main reason for doing this post is BP viewed the e-mailer was factually wrong on most points and was tempted to not answer as didn’t want to type up a long reply, but thought that would just look up the data to confirm the person was wrong (which took at least 30 minutes once put the information into Excel). So sent an e-mail back to point out the factual errors. Unfortunately, upon replying, got an automated response by spam software back saying that in order to e-mail the person, BP had to go to a Web site and fill in a form to identify that BP was a genuine sender as was not in the person’s address book….. Argh, not doing that….. So this post as didn’t want to waste the time spent.