Skip to main content

The Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday (18 June) that the 2018 Organic Act on the Acquisition of Senators does not violate the Constitution.

Two petitions were filed with the Central Administrative Court by several senator candidates seeking a ruling on whether Articles 36, 40, 41, and 41 of the Organic Act violate Article 107 of the Constitution. The petitions were later forwarded to the Constitutional Court.

Article 36 states that a candidate may introduce themselves following the procedures and conditions set by the EC and others who are not candidates may assist candidates in their introduction under specified conditions.

Articles 40, 41, and 42 govern the Senate election at district, provincial, and national levels. The candidates selected at the district and provincial levels within each group may cast votes for up to 2 and 10 candidates respectively within the same group. They may vote for themselves but are prohibited from casting more than one vote for any single candidate.

The petitioners claimed that these articles go against Article 107 of the Constitution, which states that the Senate will consist of 200 members installed through a selection among persons who are experts in their fields. BBC Thai reported that the petitioners claimed that Article 36 allows individuals who do not intend to become senators to apply to run and allow non-candidates to assist candidates during introduction, and that allowing introduction through public electronic channels may lead to inequality.

They also said that, if a candidate does not vote for themselves, it suggests that a deal has been made and the election would not be fair.

BBC Thai noted that the petitioners authorized lawyer Theerayut Suwankesorn to file the petitions on their behalf. He claimed that the petitioners did not intend to seek the postponement or cancellation of the Senate election, but wanted to “keep an eye on” those who campaign for people to run for the Senate.

Theerayut served as lawyer for the monk Buddha Issara, a People’s Democratic Reform Committee protest leader who now goes by his layman’s name Suwit Thongprasert. He previously filed a petition asking the Constitutional Court to rule whether the Move Forward Party’s campaign to amend the royal defamation law is treasonous.

Meanwhile, iLaw noted that Udom Ratamarit, one of the Constitutional Court judges, was a member of the Constitutional Drafting Commission which drafted both the 2017 Constitution and the 2018 Organic Act. It is unclear, however, whether Udom participated in the ruling.

It was anticipated that if the Court ruled that any of the Articles breached the Constitution, it could prompt a further petition to nullify the ongoing Senate election, thereby prolonging the caretaker Senate’s term. However, since the Court ruled that the Articles do not go against the Constitution, the election will proceed to the national level selection, which is scheduled for 26 June.

Prachatai English's Logo

Prachatai English is an independent, non-profit news outlet committed to covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite pressure from the authorities. Your support will ensure that we stay a professional media source and be able to meet the challenges and deliver in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: [email protected], please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”