New Alternative first party to hold meeting

New Alternative first party to hold meeting

A poster on the side of a container truck shows the New Alternative party and its founder, Rachane Trakulwiang. (Photo from Facebook @NewAlternativeParty.newa)
A poster on the side of a container truck shows the New Alternative party and its founder, Rachane Trakulwiang. (Photo from Facebook @NewAlternativeParty.newa)

A budding political party has wasted no time after becoming the first to receive approval from the junta to hold political activities.

The New Alternative party, which registered with the Election Commission as the 16th new party on March 2, elected Rachane Trakulwiang as leader and Pairoj Kratumthonglert as secretary-general at its first meeting in Bangkok on Saturday morning under the watchful eye of security officials.

Some of the party’s members formerly belonged to the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which held street protests that culminated in the resignation of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the military coup in 2014.

According to Thai media, the party has 700 members, 200 of whom are in Bangkok and nearby provinces.

Its motto is “Dare to think, dare to lead and make good with actions”. Its manifesto states: “New Alternative party adheres to the love of the country, religion and the King, only for the people."

At the meeting, the abbreviation of the party’s name (NEWA) and its logo were approved, as were the manifesto, regulations and 2018 policies. Participants also endorsed the administrative structure, positions, branches and provincial representatives, as well as asset management and accounting methods.

Mr Rachane said the meeting would choose 30 executives.

“If we win a majority vote, I’ll become the prime minister myself. If not, we’re ready to support the majority parties. We’ll support Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha if the party backing him as PM wins a majority. In any case, we’ll vouch for only Gen Prayut, not his henchmen,” Mr Rachane said.

Other political parties, both old and new, are awaiting a crucial meeting on Wednesday, when the Election Commission is expected to explain what they can and cannot do as they prepare for national polls expected next February.

Although Mr Rachane used to be chairman of the Nonthaburi chapter of the PDRC, he said he no longer had anything to do with the movement led by former Democrat Party power broker Suthep Thaugsuban.

“I didn’t even consult Mr Suthep when I set up the party,” he said.

Mr Rachane said his party was not a nominee of either the PDRC or the National Council for Peace and Order.

The party, he added, had full confidence it would win voters' support since it intends to field candidates in all 350 constituencies as constitutionally required.

The focus when recruiting members will be on the new generation and the party will not accept former MPs. “For Bangkok, we will field young people aged between 24 and 40," said Mr Rachane.

“We hope to win at least 50 seats and raise 1 million baht in seed funds today."

One of the party’s key policies is what it terms “homeowner funds”, in which a house owner with valid census documents can obtain easy access to finance from state sources and can repay it on flexible terms.

“This is not a populist policy, but rather Pracha Niyom,” he said, adding that he was convinced it would bring him victory at the polls. 

Asked whether the party would invite Gen Prayut to be its adviser, Mr Rachane said: “We’re a star. We’re guided by our own light. We won’t approach anyone to be our adviser. We’re ready to stand against the tide and bullets."


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