Le Pheu Thai denounces the establishment’s latest subterfuge to keep power

With the approach of the elections, the Thai government is seeking to change to its advantage the calculation methods for the allocation of MP seats. The opposition ignites

Thailand’s largest opposition party said on Thursday it was preparing to petition the Constitutional Court to stop coalition government lawmakers in their bid to change the electoral system, saying it was a move unconstitutional intended to favor the power in place.

Pheu Thai’s rise to power comes as Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O-Cha, who came to power in a military coup in 2014 and was kept in power in 2019 following a disputed election, approaches of the end of his term. The next elections are scheduled for May 2023.

Parliament approved on Wednesday evening at second reading a plan to modify the method of calculating the allocation of seats for deputies from party lists, while rejecting another proposal favored by the opposition bloc.

“Instrumentalize the electoral system”

The Pheu Thai sees in this project, which must still pass third reading and obtain royal approval, a convoluted overhaul of the rules intended to disadvantage the large parties in favor of the smaller ones with which the party of Prayuth Chan-O-Cha has formed a government coalition of no less than 17 parties.

The vote [de mercredi] shows how General Prayuth wants to stay in power by using the electoral system to his advantagesaid Pheu Thai General Secretary Prasert Chantararuangthong, confirming the party’s intention to appeal to the Constitutional Court.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the changes sought by parliamentarians reflected the voice of the majority in parliament and had nothing to do with Prayuth Chan-O-Cha or his administration.

The Constitution was amended last year to change a voting system that helped the former junta leader stay in power after the 2019 elections, despite the defeat of his Palang Pracharat party by Pheu Thai.

This will produce results similar to the 2019 elections, where smaller parties won seats with few votes.“said Stithorn Thananithichot, an analyst at the King Prajadhipok Institute.

Do small to win big

Pheu Thai is the party that Prayuth Chan-O-Cha ousted from power eight years ago in his coup, days after the Constitutional Court dismissed Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The least that can be said is that the Thai Constitutional Court is not in the odor of sanctity with the opposition. Over the past fifteen years, which have been marked by strong political turbulence, it has delivered a whole series of judgments almost systematically in favor of the royalist establishment, a certain number of which have repeatedly upset the political destiny of the country.

The Pheu Thai also plans to create a small party to take advantage of the new rule during the next elections if it is validated, reports the Bangkok Post. A tactic he had already used in 2019, in vain, since his annex party had been dissolved by the Constitutional Court shortly before the election.

Pheu Thai is the latest reincarnation of the Thai Rak Thai party, a political juggernaut founded in 1998 by billionaire former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The Thai Rak Thai was dissolved in 2007 by the Constitutional Court, a few months after the coup that ousted the Shinawatra government. He would be reborn as Palang Prachachon to win the same year by an overwhelming majority. But in 2008, the same court will dismiss its Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej for cooking lessons given on television. A few months later the Palang Prachachon will be dissolved in favor of the Democratic Party, aligned with the military-royalist establishment.

Over the past 20 years, Thaksin Shinawatra’s parties have won no less than five elections, two of them by an overwhelming majority. And since 2007, the military and their allies, unable to win by universal suffrage, have sought by all means to modify the system to their advantage while maintaining a semblance of democracy.

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Le Pheu Thai denounces the establishment’s latest subterfuge to keep power

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