Election in Thailand will definitely be held next year: Constitutional Committee chief

A GENERAL ELECTION will definitely be held next year, Constitution Drafting Committee chairman Borwornsak Uwanno said yesterday.

He was speaking after returning from a five-day official trip to Germany, in which he examined that country's electoral system because Thailand's new voting system is modelled on it.

Borwornsak said he told German foreign ministry and diplomats that Thailand's general election would be held early next year at the earliest or mid-2016 at the latest.

He said he discussed Germany's election system - both constituency and party-list systems - with German Constitutional Court officials.

He said the German officials told him the party-list system that the CDC was drawing up was the right move.

Germany had permanent officials overseeing elections and local officials were in charge of printing ballot papers and holding elections, he said.

The German parliament had the power to disqualify candidates and any candidate who was unhappy about the decision could seek a Constitutional Court ruling.

Germany did not use electronic voting because the electronic system did not provide hard-copy evidence.

CDC spokesman General Lertrat Rattanawanit, who also visited Germany, said the country had used a mixed party-list and constituency-MP system for more than 66 years so it was obviously well established.

He said Germany's electoral system was quite complicated and details of the system were indicated in its organic law and constitutional court rulings.

The German constitution says about elections only in three lines. It says that elections must be carried out with transparency, justice and independence.

Lertrat said the party-list system in Germany was strong because high quality politicians and party members must contribute funds to their parties.

Some 34 parties fielded candidates at the last election but only five parties were elected.

Lertrat said the German Constitutional Court had 16 judges - eight selected by parliament and eight by the Senate and they serve one term of 12 years.

German Constitutional Court judges could be members of political parties, and the German people accepted most of the rulings, he said.

Quoting Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Borwornsak said he told Germany officials the political culture in Thailand was different.

He asked German officials if the country had ever experienced a scenario in which Opposition MPs sought to amend every provision in a charter draft while government MPs sought every opportunity to close the House session.

He also asked them if Germany had ever experienced MPs using other MPs' ID cards to cast votes over important motions and if they had experienced MPs passing an amnesty bill at 4am in the morning.

Borwornsak said his remarks took the German officials by surprise. They said they had never previously heard about or come across such incidents.

He said German officials understood the situation here after he gave them an insight into the country's political woes.