Are the tweaks in the ballot papers out of the ordinary?
News have been circulating on the possibility that the ballot format may only have the name of MP candidates and their number while the party logos will be removed. This has been confirmed following a meeting on December 7 regarding the political roadmap the Bangkok.
The move had caused significant public outrage, but is this tweak something out of the ordinary for the ballots?
This answer is yes, because this is the very first time that the Thai national election will use a new system where only ballot would be casted which rewards points for both the constituency candidates and the party-list candidates. This is why there was a debate earlier on whether or not to have party logos as they were only shown on the separate ballot for party-list votes which no longer exists.
The proposal to remove party logos from the ballot papers saw representatives from various political parties criticizing the proposal. Following the incident, The Pheu Thai Party’s election strategy leader Sudarat Keyurapan posted on her Facebook saying “No political party names and no party logo, what is it that those in power fear?”
The Democrat Party who also refrained from joining the December 7 meeting alongside the Pheu Thai Party, expressed concerns that the general public might be confused as a result of removing the party logo and they will be relying on their legal team to check the validity of this change in regards to the constitution.
In the 2011 elections, the old system had 2 separate ballot papers. One was for voting the citizens’ desired MP for their constituency and the other was for voting their favored party which contributes points for the party-list MPs. Only the ballot for the party-list had the party logo and name.
However, the new system which is called a Mixed Member Apportionment System (MMA) will only require the ballot which is used to vote for their desired MP in their constituency. The new system with a single ballot will tally votes for each individual MP themselves and they will automatically earn a vote for the party in which that MP comes from.
This system has been practiced in 5 countries around the world, including Germany, South Korea and Albania.
However, the Election Commission has decided on December 17 to attach party logos and names to all MPs in the 350 constituencies in the up-coming elections on February 24, 2019.