The Democrat Party will meet tomorrow and issue guidelines for electing a new leader, who is speculated to be either its former leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva, or Watanya Bunnag, chief of the party’s working group on political innovations.
Party spokesman Ramet Rattanachaweng, yesterday said its caretaker executive panel would meet tomorrow to lay out the guidelines to be followed in seeking a new leader and naming a new board after Jurin Laksanawisit quit as leader in the wake of the party’s crushing election defeat. A leader’s resignation automatically scraps the board.
“In the meeting, everyone has the right to nominate anyone as party leader. Whoever is talented and competent can also nominate themselves,” said Mr Ramet. “Despite its defeat, it doesn’t mean the end of the party. The party has been running for 77 years. With all the things the party has done, we cannot quit political activities.”
Asked if the Democrats were ready to be an opposition party, Mr Ramet said the 24 Democrat MPs elected on May 14 will perform the duties entrusted to them by voters, including driving policies and carrying out legislative responsibility. “Working with other opposition parties is about the future, but it doesn’t mean we need to unify with all of them,” he said.
He said the new panel would be assessing the changes in political trends in each constituency and monitor vote-buying issues that were reportedly rampant in many provinces, particularly in the South of the country, which is the party’s main stronghold.
He added the party would evaluate its election performance after winning 24 seats, considerably down from the 53 it won in the previous polls. “We will also look at strategies for future elections,” he said.
He insisted the party was confident that none of its candidates committed electoral fraud. The Democrats have vowed to take immediate action against any member found by the Election Commission to have engaged in irregularities as no one is above the law, he said.
Meanwhile, a party source said the party’s newly elected MPs based in the South feel that Ms Watanya should take the helm as the next leader, feeling the 38-year-old has what it takes to modernise the country’s oldest political party.