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Chalerm chats with the Bangkok Post

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Veteran politician Chalerm Yubangrung told the Bangkok Post it was time for his Puea Thai party to make full use of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's popularity. 

As usual, Chalerm Yubambrung had many interesting things to say during his meeting with the press. Be sure to remember that he is a veteran politician and he has a reason for saying what he says.

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Chalerm sees tough road ahead for party

A recent poll by Assumption University found slightly more than half, or 50.7%, of those surveyed thought the Democrat Party would win the next election. This compares with 33% for the Puea Thai Party. In wide-ranging talks with the Bangkok Post, Puea Thai’s leading MP, Chalerm Yubamrung, admitted his party faced an uphill battle in securing enough votes to form the next government.

How do you see the future of Puea Thai?

The party has no chance of forming the government unless it can win at least half of the seats in the House in the next election and form a single-party government.

Also, reconciliation will have no chance unless Puea Thai wins the next election and is able to set new rules. The rules set by this government are not impartial.

Without equality, freedom and impartiality, there cannot be reconciliation.

What is your strategy for the party to win more than half of the seats?

In my view, we have no choice but to use Thaksin Shinawatra as a key element in our campaign.

We need to make it a ‘‘public agreement’’ in our campaign that if we can form a single-party government, we will bring back Thaksin, introduce a bill to grant him and all political and administrative offenders a blanket amnesty, reinstate the 1997 constitution and promote the defunct Thai Rak Thai Party’s economic policies. Everything will be ‘‘set to zero’’.

You don’t think this will lead to wider social division and conflict?

I don’t think so. If we announce this ‘‘public agreement’’ as part of the
campaign and the majority gives it their consent, they [other parties] must accept it.

Why do you think the party MPs and executives will accept such a strategy?

I’m not sure they will, but I will tell them that this is the only way for Puea Thai Party to form the government.

We can’t deny Thaksin’s popularity, particularly in the Northeast and North. Some in the party are confident that some of the present coalition parties, particularly Bhumjaithai, will break away from the Democrats and join Puea Thai. I would like to tell them that is impossible.

The coalition parties are looking to use the 2011 fiscal budget allocated to the agencies under their authority, and there is no way they will break away from the government.

God may bless you and the Democrats may be dissolved by the court for misusing the 29 million baht political development fund.

I don’t think so. I don’t think the Democrats will be dissolved. They will serve in government until their term ends in 15 months.

Realistically, I can’t see anything toppling the Democrat-led government before its term ends.

I am preparing myself for the election in 15 months’ time.

What will you do if your party does not accept your strategic plan for the election?

I will no longer be a party-list candidate and will run in the constituency vote instead. Then, I will be not so tired as I will be responsible only for my constituency. However, I will not leave and leave them alone.

What do you want to say to Puea Thai members in support of your plan?

Puea Thai needs a decisive strategy to be out and play the [parliamentary] game

The future of Puea Thai does not depend on its political and economic policies. It depends on Thaksin. We can’t ignore this fact.

This is Thaksin’s last stand. If he cannot return to the country in the four years [after the next election], he will never be able to return.

The Bangkok Post's Voranai Vanijaka participated in the meeting with Mr Chalerm and that was the subject of his Sunday column. You can read it here:

veteran – a person who has a lot of experience in a particular area or activity, in this case, politics (สส.)หน้าเก่า, (สส.)หลายสมัย, ผู้อาวุโส, ทหารผ่านศึก
popularity – a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people ความเป็นที่นิยม, ความเป็นที่ชื่นชอบ
tough – difficult ยากลำบาก
survey – to ask a large number of people questions to find out their opinions สำรวจ
wide-ranging – covering many subjects
admit – to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it  ยอมรับ
uphill battle – a job or duty that is very difficult to accomplish and failure is very possible ภารกิจซึ่งยากลำบาก
secure – to get or achieve something ได้รับ, ทำให้ได้ผล
reconciliation – a new and friendly relationship with someone who you argued with or fought with การทำให้ปรองดองกันอีก,  การสมานฉันท์
impartial – fair; not connected to or influenced by one particular person or group เป็นกลาง ไม่เข้าข้างฝ่ายใด ยุติธรรม
equality – the state of being equal, especially in having the same rights, status and opportunities ความเสมอภาค
strategy– a plan or method for achieving something, especially over a long period of time ยุทธวิธี, แผนการ 
key – most important  ที่สำคัญ
element – an important basic part of something complicated, for example a system or plan องค์ประกอบ, ส่วนประกอบ
campaign – a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party การรณรงค์หาสียง
grant – to officially give something  ให้
blanket – affecting or aimed at everyone or everything equally, even when this is not sensible or fair ครอบคลุม, กว้าง
amnesty – a situation in which a government agrees not to punish people who have committed a crime การนิรโทษกรรม
reinstate – to cause something to exist again นำกลับมาใช้อีก
defunct – no longer existing, operating or being used ถูกยุบ
policy – a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group นโยบาย
conflict – angry disagreement between people or groups การต่อสู้, ความขัดแย้ง
consent – to give permission to do something ยอมให้ทำ, อนุญาต
deny – to say that something is not true or does not exist ปฏิเสธ
confident – being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future มั่นใจ
coalition parties – the political parties making up the government พรรคร่วมรัฐบาล
fiscal – connected with the government budget, i.e., public money เกี่ยวกับงบประมาณ
budget – an amount of money able to be spent on something งบประมาณ
allocate – to officially give out an amount of or share of something แบ่งส่วน
authority – power อำนาจ
dissolved (party) – a political party that has been officially ended as a group พรรคที่ถูกยุบ
fund – money provided for something เงินทุน กองทุน
term – a period of time a politician, government or other official holds their job ช่วงเวลาการดำรงตำแหน่งหรืออำนาจ
topple – to make someone in power to lose their power  โค่นอำนาจ
party-list – a system that gives each party in an election a number of seats in relation to the number of votes its candidates receive ระบบสัดส่วน, ระบบปาร์ตี้ลิสต์
candidate – a person who is trying to be elected ผู้สมัครรับเลือกตั้ง
constituency – a district that elects its own representative to parliament เขตเลือกตั้ง
decisive – strong; firm ซึ่งเด็ดเดี่ยว
ignore – to not pay attention to something เพิกเฉย

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