Abhisit ‘could be back’ as Dem chief

Abhisit 'could be back' as Dem chief

The resignation of Jurin Laksanawisit as Democrat Party leader could see the return of former premier Abhisit Vejjajiva to lead the country’s oldest party, according to a Democrat source.

Before the election, Mr Jurin set a minimum target of capturing 25 seats but the party’s inability to hit that target on Sunday led to his decision to relinquish the party leadership.

As of 5pm on Monday, when the vote count by the Election Commission was at 99%, the Democrats had won 22 MP seats in the constituencies, but it was edging close to grabbing three more seats from the list system.

After the polls closed at 5pm on Sunday, Mr Jurin thanked voters who supported his party during the election.

He later posted on the Democrat Party’s Line group announcing his decision to step down as party leader.

“To show responsibility for the party’s election results, I hereby announce my resignation as party leader. I would like to ask you all to continue working for the party. I will stay on with the party, regardless of the position.”

Abhisit: Could make comeback

According to the party source, his likely replacement could be Mr Abhisit, who led the Democrats from March 6, 2005, to March 24, 2019.

However, if the party’s top post is not filled by Mr Abhisit, a younger politician of high calibre may be picked instead, the source said.

The source added that Mr Jurin is not expected to seek re-election as party leader.

Mr Jurin’s resignation on Sunday has caused the dissolution of the party executive board. A plenary party meeting will be called to elect a new board within 60 days, according to the party’s rules.

Sutham Rahong, the Democrat director, said the party’s new board would choose the new leader, but the timing is tied to when the EC will officially confirm Sunday’s poll results.

If the confirmation comes in the next 30 days, the party will have enough time to prepare for and convene the plenary meeting. But if the confirmation is later, the party might have no choice but to call for the meeting and go ahead with the board election, he said.

The timing is important as the party must have a clear idea of how many MPs the party will have officially as those eligible to vote for the new leader must be separated into MPs and members, he added.

The Democrat Party is also expected to have three list MPs: Mr Jurin and two other former Democrat leaders, Chuan Leekpai and Banyat Bantadtan.

After the 2019 general election, the party had 52 MPs — 33 from constituencies and 19 from the party list. It then joined the coalition government led by Palang Pracharath.

Jurin: Taking responsibility