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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Thais Academics Oppose Multi-Seat Constituencies: They Don't Believe in Representation Based On Population

Academics oppose multi-seat idea

Academics disagree with the idea of multi-seat constituencies, saying such an arrangement would erode equality rights.

Politicians, however, say multi-seat constituencies are not a problem, but they are concerned the bonds between MPs and voters would be weakened in large constituencies.

Thammasat University law lecturer Prinya Thewanaruemitkul said he disagreed with multi-seat constituencies, because the system was based on population and not on the equality of people.


"Some provinces, such as Ranong, which has a lower population than other provinces, would get only one MP, but constituencies in larger provinces like Nakhon Ratchasima would get three MPs," he said.


Continued


Is it my imagination or are these people complete idiots?

Why shouldn't MPs represent a portion of the population? And if a constituency has more people, it should have more MPS. Duh. That is called representative democracy.

And why would a small province be jealous of a big province because it has a bigger population and needs more representation? Indeed, if they make all things equal between constituencies, those with a larger population are the ones getting screwed.

The reasons these idiotic professors are giving are mind-boggling. But the article is so poorly written, I want to give the ajarns the benefit of the doubt. The writer of the article may be distorting everything beyond comprehension.

8 comments:

Patiwat said...

These academics are shooting themselves in the foot. I can't really believe that they are advocating a system where each province will have equal representation (and they are - just read the rest of the article).

Do they really want the rural masses to be able to overpower Bangkok by 75 to 1? Then what's going to prevent a populist like Thaksin from gaining power and beating down the aristocracy like last time? The academics are really letting down the elite here...

hobby said...

"Mahachon Party deputy leader Akapol Sorasuchart said his party had no problem with the multi-seat system but that MPs might not be able to take care of their constituents properly, because the constituencies would be larger.
"The bond between MPs and voters will not be as close as in single-seat constituencies," he said."



Am I missing something here - how are the constituencies larger under the multi-seat system?

Fonzi said...

I don't know what is going on. The article is poorly written and incomprehensible.

It is sad that all three of us can't figure it out.

hobby said...

OK - I understand a little better now - when comparing the multi seat constituencies with the single seat contituencies we are not comparing apples with apples when it comes to 'constiuencies'.

Under the single seat constituencies there are 400 such constituencies, but that 'constituency' is different under the multi seat system.

Therefore the constituencies could be larger under the multi seat system, but there would be more MP's representing in those larger constituencies.

As a general rule, in 'advanced countries', I prefer multi seat (proportional representation) because it gives minority views a hearing, even if it means weaker coalition governments.

However, in Thailand there does not seem to be any real ideology apart from enriching oneself and ones friends, so minority views don't seem to matter in any case.

It looks like it boils down to single seat constituencies = stronger parties/government V's multi seat constituencies = weaker coalition governments.

It then becomes clearer why one section wants multi seat and the other wants single seat constituencies.

Fonzi said...

hobby-

I don't understand why they just don't create constituencies based upon population?

Thailand doesn't have an ideology based party system, as you have pointed out, so there is no need to protect the minority.

This is what I would do. Each province would be entitled to at least 1 MP, regardless of size. I have no idea how the population is dispersed right now between provinces, but I assume some are huge and some are sparsely populated.

The larger the province, population wise, the more the MPs.

I think that solves a lot of problems.

And why does Thailand need 400-500 MPs?

That is too many, especially when politics is a means of getting rich quickly rather than serving the people.

In the ideal world, I think Thailand should be federalized and power devolved, with the provinces taking more control over their own destiny.

Right now, Bangkok has too much power.

If the provincials had more democratic say over their own destinies at a local level, I think
there would be less of a chance of coups in the future, because there would be a local check against the power in Bangkok.

Patiwat said...

Fonzi: Thailand doesn't have an ideology based party system, as you have pointed out, so there is no need to protect the minority.

Thai politics is based on ideology. You have the elite and the aristocracy in Bangkok, and you have everybody else. The system of government must ensure that the position of the elite isn't endangered. A powerful populist government running under a system that gives them great stability is not what they want.

Fonzi said...

Patiwat-

You are right. But I don't know if what you described could be considered an ideology. What would you call it? Thai Royalist ideology? But then, the other side would also call itself Thai Royalist also just to be trendy.

Regardless, I was talking about ideology based as in a liberal/conservative, left/right dichotomy.

hobby said...

Fonzi said: "This is what I would do. Each province would be entitled to at least 1 MP, regardless of size. I have no idea how the population is dispersed right now between provinces, but I assume some are huge and some are sparsely populated.The larger the province, population wise, the more the MPs.
I think that solves a lot of problems."


That's just too sensible & logical to ever be included in the Thai constitution.