Chumpol gets nod despite Dems' threat

Chumpol gets nod despite Dems' threat

The Democrat Party will allow Chumpol Julsai to run as its election candidate in Chumphon, it said on Monday after uncertainty over whether he could do so exposed a rift in the party.

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva confirmed that Mr Chumpol would be able to contest the poll on the party's ticket in Constituency 1, but he stated the politician must avoid causing confusion among voters and canvass for votes in the party's name only.

Mr Abhisit's remarks followed a dispute in which the party handed Mr Chumpol an ultimatum: he was to persuade his older brother, Supol Julsai, not to stand in a different Chumphon constituency for another party, the Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT), or accept the Democrat Party would not back his own election bid.

Party executives reportedly suspected Mr Chumpol and his brother were planning to collude on the campaign trail for the benefit of the ACT.

Mr Chumpol held a prominent position in the now-defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee protest movement. That was led by Suthep Thaugsuban, a co-founder of the ACT.

Mr Chumpol is believed to have retained close ties with Mr Suthep and other leading party members.

Mr Abhisit said on Monday Mr Chumpol must assist Democrat candidates in campaigning for votes in other constituencies in Chumphon.

He insisted Mr Chumpol is not facing any punitive measures. "Everything has been settled," he said.

Mr Suthep said the ACT will field candidates who can represent the party well and are responsive to people's needs.

He criticised one party that made its members "grovel" to its leader or secretary-general to win selection for the poll. He mentioned Mr Chumpol and offered his sympathy for "coming close to failing to make him an election candidate".

The ACT is not a dictatorship but prides itself on its egalitarian nature, he said, adding the party plans to split the 150-seat list equally among male and female candidates.

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