Democrat reforms ready for snap election
- Published: 16/05/2013 at 04:37 PM
- Online news:
A major reform of the Democrat Party, to revamp its internal structure, attract new supporters and position the party as a viable alternative to the current government will be ready in three months, ahead of an expected snap election, party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Thursday.
He said the reforms would position the Democrats to serve either as a strong opposition or as the core of a future government, whatever the political situation and regardless of the current conflict.
Mr Abhisit told a press conference on Thursday this was agreed on at a meeting of the party's executive committee on Monday.
He was accompanied at the press conference by party secretary-general Chalermchai Sri-on and deputy party leader Alongkorn Ponlaboot, who put forward the proposal that the party should be reformed.
Mr Abhisit said the party believes a snap election may be called late this year, even though the government's four-year term does not end until mid-2015. Therefore, the party needs to prepare.
Under Mr Alongkorn's proposal, which was adopted, it was agreed that the party as a whole should be reformed. The party must be restructured to improve its administration and solidarity, and must open itself wide to encourage people from all walks of life to join and to work for it.
A working group would be assigned to work out lines of reform, particularly on the structure of the executive committee and working areas.
The working group will compile opinions drawn from all the party's resources, complete its work in 30 days and forward its suggestions for change to the executive committee, he said. The proposed changes may also include party regulations.
The executive committee will consider and then forward the proposals to a meeting of MPs, and then to a party general assembly, in order to reach agreement on what reforms should be implemented and how. This should take about three months, Mr Abhisit said.
The Democrat leader said although there are many different opinions on this matter, the party is determined to go ahead with the plan.
All the opinions, no matter how different, were aimed at ensuring change in the party, he said.
The reform process would not be allowed to affect the party's responsibility to work in opposition, to monitor the government's performance and to present itself as the people's choice in the future.
Mr Abhisit said the reform process should be considered an internal affair, to strengthen the party's mechanisms, and should not be seen as reflecting internal conflict.
The party's goal is to expand its support base from 11-12 million voters to 15-16 million voters, he said.
Mr Alongkorn said after the meeting that he will accept the result of the 36-page blueprint and added that he will be more careful on posting Twitter messages on this issue.
His message on Wednesday aired anger at attempts by some senior party members to block the reform effort. The message illustrated opposition in the party on the proposed reform plan.
Mr Alongkorn dismissed conflicts in the party on the issue, saying that members only had different opinions on the direction the party should go to compete against the Pheu Thai Party.
He said he did not expect the reform plans would be welcomed by all key party members. But those opposing the move should not stab him in the back.
He also aired his frustration at the move by the party which concentrated only on attacks at Pheu Thai with nothing new to offer to voters.
"People have had enough of the attacks with no new issues or policies to counter them,'' he said, adding that the losses by the party in general elections in the past two decades already reflected the need for the party to change.
The last time the Democrats won a general election was in 1992 when Chuan Leekpai was the leader, he added.
About the author
Writer: Manop Thip-osod and Amornrat Mahitthirook