Senate election off to wobbly start

Senate election off to wobbly start
Senate election off to wobbly start

Issues that the new electoral system does not provide the Upper House that contract authors hoped will be the result of the Senate race’s start on Sunday in 928 towns across the country.


According to the 2017 law, the fresh Senate to achieve the coup- appointed chamber may include 200 members selected from 20 expert groups, with 10 seats available for each group.

Candidates will choose among themselves candidates from the same group and from various professional organizations at the district, provincial, and national levels through the three-phase process that the Election Commission (EC ) organizes.

A district-level election will take place where five prospects with the most votes will advance to an intra-group vote. In the between- group surveys, three candidates with the highest number of votes may get shortlisted per party, or 60 across 20 groups.

The chosen candidates go to statewide elections, where a similar procedure occurs again. The top 10 applicants from each of the 20 teams are chosen as lawmakers after the successful individuals ‘ final round of voting.

The new Senate should be a room of independent experts in their fields, according to the contract drafters, who introduced the complicated method of intra-group and inter-group voting to stop attempts to rigg the process.

At least 100, 000 individuals may be running for office for the new method to work, and each of the 20 organizations must have a sizable number of candidates to put up a big challenge against one another. But, the Senate race has attracted 48, 117 individuals.


Charter framers and academics anticipate complications during the election process due to the low applicant participation, according to the new state’s flaw.

Previous senator and contract writer Kamnoon Sidhisamarn claimed that the lack of candidates in some professional organizations or districts is not as concerning as the low turnout of candidates.

Based on press reviews, in some districts, only one expert team is taking part in the vote, instead of 20 expert groups.

This would mean that this particular group would not receive any votes during the cross-group voting, which would mean that candidates from various groups would vote for each other, and thus not be eligible for the provincial-level contest.

What will be done in this regard by the polling place? Will these candidates be disqualified”? he asked.

When there are n’t as many applicants as there should be, according to Mr. Kamnoon, it’s difficult to say whether the new Senate will succeed in appointing members who will fulfill their duties as the charter drafters intended.

He claimed that the new Senate is intended to be different from the previous ones, which were mostly made up of legal experts to review legislation.

But this Senate election, he said, would generate only 10 senators from the legal and justice administration field.


However, Mr. Kamnoon claimed that this should not be taken as a hindrance in the new Senate’s ability to carry out their legislative responsibilities.

The senators who make up for this with their expertise can use the Senate’s secretariat for the necessary assistance, he added.

He said it is the first time the new system is implemented, so problems are anticipated. He continued that those who are unhappy with the system could start working to amend the Senate election law and charter.

Kamnoon: New Senate to be different

Olarn Thinbangtieo, a political science lecturer at Burapha University in Chon Buri province, said the low applicant turnout has posed a challenge to this new, complicated system.

The Election Commission’s plans to address the difficulties brought on by the low number of candidates are still a mystery, according to Mr. Olarn.

The provincial and national stages are destined to be flawed if the district level election is flawed, too. Today’s election is the most important.

It will be unfair to these candidates if they are cut from the race due to low turnout, he said, and it could undermine the purpose of the Senate, which seeks to represent people in 20 fields.

Olarn: Low turnout complicates poll

Stithorn Thananithichot, director of the Office of Innovation for Democracy at King Prajadhipok’s Institute, said the complications related to the low turnout are not enough to justify postponing or cancelling the election.

However, the polling place must make sure that all election officials in the country follow the same set of guidelines when dealing with complications to prevent further legal disputes, he said.

Mr. Stithorn expressed concern for potential manipulation of the election results, which will become easier when the candidate pool is n’t large enough. This might completely undermine the system.

The analyst’s concerns echo those of caretaker senator Somchai Swangkarn, who last week raised concerns that collusion might be a factor in the Senate election.

He claimed that 149 senatorial candidates had been designated as winners at the district and provincial levels, and that many more candidates might be a part of a campaign to rig the outcome.

Stithorn: Cannot justify cancelling election


The district-level election is the most important stage of the race, according to Phichai Ratnatilaka Na Bhuket, a lecturer from the National Institute of Development Administration ( Nida ), and the EC must screen out candidates who are hired to participate.

He noted that parties may attempt to obstruct the election at the national level, but it might not be worthwhile because the new Senate’s function is constrained and unlikely to serve their interests.

The new Upper House, with the exception of the right to co-select a prime minister, has the same authority and responsibilities as its predecessor. It will screen the nominations for public independent organisations, review legislation and examine the government.

Because senators are required to participate in the charter amendment process, Mr. Phichai said the new Senate’s position on charter rewrite is the most fascinating to watch.

As for other tasks, the previous senates, whether they were elected or appointed, tended to support those in power. The new chamber is unlikely to be any different, he said.

Phichai: Parties may try to interfere

Chaithawat Tulathon, the leader of the Move Forward Party ( MPP ), expressed concern about the possibility that the outcome of the Senate election would be postponed or even invalid.

The process could be stalled if there are many complaints because the Senate election law does not specify when the Election Commission will announce the results.

Additionally, if the Senate election law conflicts with the charter, the Constitutional Court will also be able to rule.

In response to the legal controversies surrounding the Senate election law, Mr. Chaithawat criticized the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO ) and the drafters of the charter.

Chaithawat: Results could be invalidated