BANGKOK (Xinhua) – Thailand’s Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has reached a consensus that a new Senate will comprise 200 members who will be selected from five groups, a CDC spokesman said Thursday.
The 200 senators should be selected from former members of the executive, judicial and legislative bodies, former high-ranking bureaucrats such as former military commanders, heads of professional organisations, people’s organisations and other professions, Khamnoon Sitthisaman said.
Senators will be empowered to propose laws, remove the prime minister, ministers and members of parliament, as well as scrutinise the backgrounds of the prime minister and cabinet members before they are royally endorsed, according to Khamnoon.
The CDC earlier resolved to adopt the German-styled mixed member proportional representation (MMP) electoral system, with 250 MPs to be elected from constituencies and 200 others from the party list.
Voters will have to cast two ballots, one for a constituency MP and the other for a political party.
The number of a party’s seats in the House of Representatives will depend on the proportion of party votes it receives from eight electoral clusters across the country, according to CDC spokesman Lertrat Rattanawanich.
For instance, if a party receives 10 per cent of all party votes, it should be allocated 45 seats, 10 per cent of the 450 House seats. If in the meantime, it has won 40 seats from the constituency system, it should only get another five seats from the party list, Lertrat said.
But if the party has already won 45 or more seats from the constituency system, it will get no seat from the party list.
It is likely that parties could win constituency seats beyond their proportion and thus cause the total number of MPs to exceed 450, Lertrat noted.
Constituency MP candidates do not have to be members of political parties, he said.
The new electoral system will enable every single vote to be taken into account and give small parties and independent candidates a greater chance in the election, Lertrat commented.