Dems deny bid to join MFP-led coalition

Dems deny bid to join MFP-led coalition

Move Forward plans ‘too controversial’

Key Democrat figures yesterday rejected media reports that the party was seeking to join the coalition led by the Move Forward Party (MFP).

According to the reports circulating on Thursday night following the formation of the ten-party alliance, a group of winning Democrat candidates close to acting party secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on said Mr Chalermchai tried to approach the MFP and Pheu Thai to be part of the coalition.

Two figures — Det-it Khaothong and Chaichana Dejdecho, who won House seats in Songkhla and Nakhon Si Thammarat, respectively — were said to be spearheading the move. The group was said to have 16 out of 25 seats the party captured in Sunday’s polls.

Mr Chaichana said the reports were entirely false and speculated that they were released to gauge Democrat opinions after some parties had declared their stance.

He said the party stood by its declaration that it would not support the abolition of the lese majeste law, would not tolerate corruption and would not allow the uncontrolled use of cannabis.

However, he said a decision on the party’s future would be decided after a new party executive is elected and the election winners are endorsed by the Election Commission.

Jurin Laksanawisit, who vowed to resign if the party won less than 25 seats, announced he was quitting before the party hit that target late on Sunday evening. The party grabbed just 22 seats from the constituencies and three more from the list system, according to the unofficial result.

Alongkorn Ponlaboot, acting Democrat deputy leader, yesterday urged media outlets to verify the reports, especially those with unnamed sources, because they could be used to discredit the party.

“The party is ready to be in the opposition and scrutinise the work of the MFP-led government. We want to reaffirm our stance that we disagree with amending Sections 1-2 of the constitution and the lese majeste law,” he said.

Sombat Yasin, a Democrat candidate who won in Mae Song Hon, said yesterday it was unlikely the party would join the MFP-led coalition because the MFP had highly controversial policies.

He did not rule out the possibility of the party working with Pheu Thai in case the MFP failed to set up a government and Pheu Thai stepped in to form its own alliance.

However, Mr Sombat said Pheu Thai must leave the lese majeste law alone for the Democrats to consider joining its coalition.

“I’ve talked to Mr Chalermchai, and he shares the same opinions. We don’t agree with the MFP. But if the lead party in the coalition changes to reduce political divisiveness without touching the lese majeste law, we think it’s acceptable,” he said.