Abhisit denies rift over party-list rankings

Abhisit denies rift over party-list rankings

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva is downplaying reports of a rift in the party, after one of its leading members complained about the low party-list ranking he was given.

Mr Abhisit said the party has no issue with Witoon Nambutr's complaint, saying that by design, the party-list system will not please everyone.

Mr Witoon is ranked 40th out of the Democrat's 150 listed candidates.

"I am aware of the anxiety and confusion felt by some candidates, but we have a duty to perform well in the elections, and we must do the best we can," said Mr Abhisit.

He says that he is open to talks with Mr Witoon, although he also said that there is "no need" for him to call the former MP for Ubon Ratchathani to clear the air.

Mr Witoon served as Social Development and Human Security Minister in the Abhisit government between December 2008 to February 2009, but resigned after he was implicated in a case that saw rotten canned fish distributed to flood victims in Phatthalung.

Mr Abhisit's remarks came after Mr Witoon's complaints in a Line chat group of Democrat members surfaced.

Among the messages sent, he demanded to know the criteria that were used to rank candidates for the party's list.

In the chatroom, Mr Witoon also expressed displeasure over the fact that several younger candidates, as well as those who made smaller financial contributions to the party were ranked higher than him.

"In the end, Mr Abhisit assigned me the 40th spot. Can anyone justify this? It's political execution," he wrote in the chatroom.

Mr Witoon said that he has given his best efforts to help the Democrats secure a foothold in the Northeast, where the party has fared poorly in past elections.

However, the former MP indicated he would not quit the party. "I've chosen to be with the Democrats. It will be my first and last party," he said.

Mr Abhisit said on Monday the party has been busy campaigning -- especially in constituencies in the South of the country, which is known to be a Democrat stronghold.

The party is expecting to win at least 100 House seats in the upcoming elections.

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