Warong denies party rumours
Ex-MP says he is not targeting Abhisit
Former MP Warong Dechgitvigrom has denied he is mapping out his strategy to compete for the Democrat Party leadership out of a club and condominium connected to leading figures of another party.
Dr Warong, a former Democrat MP for Phitsanulok, denied in a post on his Facebook account Monday that he was launching the leadership fight out of a Bangkok condominium owned by Ekkanat Prompan and the Pacific Club managed by Suthep Thuagsuban, the former leader of the dissolved People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protest movement.
Mr Ekkanat, who is Mr Suthep's stepson, is also a co-leader of the PDRC. Mr Suthep, also the former Democrat secretary-general, co-founded the Ruamphalang Prachachartthai Party, or Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT) which includes members from the PDRC.
Dr Warong's emergence as a potential candidate to lead the party has unnerved some insiders.
A number of critics believe he retains close ties to the PDRC and Mr Suthep who are supportive of the regime. They say Dr Warong's bid to take over the party was mostly intended to push incumbent party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva out of the way. This would make the Democrat Party more friendly to the regime, in the hope they might forge an alliance in the next government.
However, Dr Warong denied he was vying for the Democrat leadership on account of his close ties to PDRC figures who are supportive of the regime.
Dr Warong said he was not using the condominium or the Pacific Club to devise his leadership contest plan. Instead, he has been working on his campaign out of former Democrat leader Thaworn Senneam's house in the Klong Prapa area, he said. The house is not far from the party's headquarters in Bangkok.
Mr Thaworn posted a message on Facebook Monday confirming that his house was being used as Dr Warong's campaign office. He said he issued the statement to set the record straight and prevent false information tarnishing the reputation of both Mr Suthep and the ACT.
Dr Warong, however, said he met Mr Ekkanat at the latter's condominium on one occasion to hear his views on how to advance the party.
Dr Warong said he wanted to run for the leadership to strengthen the party. "I work without anyone pulling the strings and I have no ulterior motive in contesting the leadership election," he said.
Meanwhile, Alongkorn Ponlaboot, who previously quit the party to join the now-defunct National Reform Steering Assembly, said he has made an appointment to see Mr Abhisit today to discuss issues related to the party's future.
Mr Alongkorn said this should help him to decide whether he will contest the leadership race. He will announce his decision on Sept 30.
Mr Abhisit said the party has not set out to exclude Dr Warong or Mr Alongkorn from the contest. The rules governing the primary vote, in which party members are invited to select candidates, will be finalised this week so applications can open next week. The party will hold a general assembly tomorrow.