No teaming up for Pheu Thai, Democrats

No teaming up for Pheu Thai, Democrats

Abhisit rules out deal with 'Thaksinocracy'

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva rules out a post-election alliance with the Pheu Thai Party. (Bangkok Post photo)
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva rules out a post-election alliance with the Pheu Thai Party. (Bangkok Post photo)

The Democrat Party will definitely not be working with its arch-rival Pheu Thai Party in the next government, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Friday.

Mr Abhisit has ruled out a post-election alliance, saying this is because Pheu Thai has proven unable to detach itself from "Thaksinocracy", a term coined by opponents that refers to a Thaksin-ruled autocracy which breeds conflicts of interest and irregularities in implementing public policies.

Mr Abhisit said the Democrat Party has fought against Thaksinocracy for almost 20 years, and so will definitely not be working with Pheu Thai after the next election expected by February next year.

The Pheu Thai Party has not moved past Thaksinocracy, which has been blamed for being the root of many political crises up until the present day, he added.

"If the [Democrat] party were to join hands with anyone, it would need to do so in the best interest of the country," he said.

A political source said this is the first time Mr Abhisit has been forthright about his party's chances of forging an alliance with Pheu Thai.

The source said with Mr Abhisit shutting the door on such an alliance, only one of the parties is likely to be part of a post-election coalition government.

Given the two parties' respective sizes, the next government would only realistically be able to accommodate one of them. The other coalition partners would be small- and medium-sized parties.

There will be 500 elected MPs and 250 selected senators under the constitution. The source said the two parties alone could muster enough MPs to win an outright majority and form a two-party government. However, that option now seems to have gone out of the window.

The smaller parties are not likely to win enough seats to set up a government on their own. They would need one of the two bigger camps to come on board to lead the government.

A source with the Democrats said that before Mr Abhisit's remarks yesterday, several of the party's former MPs and supporters wanted him to clarify the party's stance on the matter.

Earlier, key Pheu Thai members attacked the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) for acting in a dictatorial manner. Mr Abhisit spoke along the same lines. This raised doubts among Democrat supporters as to whether the party had "gone soft"' and was no longer fighting Thaksinocracy.

"We want our party leader to speak with a clear voice so people would not be confused as to whether we have abandoned our [anti-Thaksinocratic] stance, which gave birth to the PDRC," the source said, referring to the protest movement led by the now-defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee.

The PDRC's mass protest against the Pheu Thai-led government led to the administration's downfall in the May 2014 military coup staged by the NCPO. Many core PDRC leaders are members or former members of the Democrat Party.

Meanwhile, 55 political groups had sought to register as political parties by the sixth day of applications with the Election Commission (EC) yesterday.

Of them, about seven to eight have written to the NCPO, via the EC, requesting permission to convene internal meetings among the party founders to officially establish parties and begin the process of recruiting members.

However, a source within the EC said only one request was valid, having been submitted with all the proper documentation.

Requests to the NCPO to open internal meetings are approved on a case-by-case basis. The NCPO has said it plans to lift the ban on party meetings in June.

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