Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Constitutional problems for Bueng Kan province

While the announcement for the creation of Bueng Kan must show up in the Royal Gazette before Friday in order to become effective in time, a last minute attempt to stop the act was started. As reported by Post Today, there are three issues which may pose a problem with the constitution.
  • Constituencies in a 2011 election: the constitution states that the number of constituencies is to be calculated from the population number at December 31st of the previous year. However, if there is a general election in 2011 as promised by the PM, the problem is that on December 31st there was no Bueng Kan province yet, hence no basis for calculating the constituency numbers.

    I really wonder how this could pose a problem, as common sense would give the easy way to just add up the population in the districts which make up the new province, the same way as I did before to show there will be no effect on the seat distribution whether the new province is created or not.
  • Current constituencies not fully in line with province outline. The draft law stated that constituency two of Nong Khai will become the constituency for Bueng Kan. However, this constituency does include the district Fao Rai, which will not be part of Bueng Kan province. The only question which needs to be answered is - does this require a by-election, or is it in line with the constitution to have the 50,000 citizen keep the MPs they already elected even though they technically no longer belong to the constituency. In real, it only gets problematic once a by-election in either of the two constituencies becomes necessary after one of the MP seats gets vacant.
  • The senator issue. As mentioned, the act has been sped up a lot in order to be effective before February 18, in order to allow the new province to have an election senator with the next senatorial elections in three years - and not wait for nine years as it would be necessary otherwise. The possibility of a nine year waiting period has been introduced with the 2007 constitution, and while it would of course be better to improve the constitution to allow every province to have an elected senator at the next senatorial elections than speeding up the Bueng Kan law, there is no real constitutional problem regardless whether Bueng Kan becomes efffective before or after February 18th.
According to Khun Wisarut at 2bangkok filing this complaint is a political move as Phuea Thai men worry that they will loose the province to Bhum Jai Thai, who pushed for the province most. Which is simply stupid, as if the voters will change their mind and vote for the party which obstructed the province they wanted?

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