Suthep's brother to register new party
Will apply to form reformist group today
A younger brother of former protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban has confirmed his group will apply Friday to register a political party with the Office of Election Commission.
The planned party, which is reportedly named Ruamphalang Prachachartthai (Uniting the Force of the Thai Nation), is rumoured to include several former Democrat MPs and key figures including Anek Laothamatas, chairman of the reform panel on politics.
Speculation is also high that Mr Anek, a former leader of the Mahachon Party, will head the new party.
However, Mr Anek, who admitted that he is among the founders, stressed that he will accept the leadership only if other party members agree.
"As soon as political parties are allowed to conduct activities, I'll help push for changes with fresh politics and politicians. The country can't go back to the old politics. I'll also push for reconciliation," he said in a media interview.
According to Mr Suthep's younger brother, Thanee Thaugsuban, the application to register the new party will be lodged today and the party leadership will be decided when the founders hold a meeting, which is expected to take place next month. He said Mr Suthep would help with party work without holding any official position.
The planned registration comes several weeks late given Mr Thanee said in an interview that he would apply to register a political party when registration kicked off in March. However, he failed to do so.
Mr Suthep said Thursday he was willing to help the new party if its principles were aligned with his, and insisted he would not contest an election or hold an executive post in the party.
"If that party joins a government coalition, I won't accept any [political] post," he said.
He said the party in question would be set up to pursue national reforms as discussed by Mr Anek on Facebook.
Mr Suthep was referring to a message the academic posted on Wednesday to clarify speculation that Mr Anek was tipped to head the Ruamphalang Prachachartthai Party.
Mr Anek wrote that he was not approached to lead the party in question and that he would not agree to become party leader in such a fashion.
"Mr Suthep didn't approach me to be party leader and even if he does, I won't accept it because I'm fed up with old fashioned politics," he wrote.
However, Mr Anek said in the Facebook post that he and several others were in the process of founding a political party that would meet the charter's purposes. That party is understood to be Ruamphalang Prachachartthai.
He said it would focus on driving national and political reforms he wished to see. The party was not conceived based on who it would support as prime minister.
"It'd be a party free from influences of a leader or particular group of people. Its aim is not just to win elections but also to see political and other reforms," he wrote.
"This party didn't begin with who would be prime minister. It wouldn't begin with whether it would support Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha," he said.
According to Mr Anek, it was time to move past colour-coded politics and embrace reforms. He insisted the party was not an offshoot of the now-defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee even though some co-founders took part in PDRC activities.
Democrat deputy leader Ongart Khlampaiboon said Thursday his party would have a tough time if lots of members defect.
"We don't want any members to leave but they have the right to decide their political future," he said.