Atavit quits Dems to join Korn's venture
Former Bangkok MP Atavit Suwannapakdee resigned from the Democrat Party on Thursday, linking his political future to former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij, who quit the country's oldest political party a day earlier.
Mr Atavit won a seat in the capital under the Democrat banner in the 2008 and 2011 polls, when he was regarded as a rising star within the party.
He announced on Facebook that he had submitted his resignation letter to the party yesterday and that his political future lay with Mr Korn.
"I and Phi ['older brother'] Korn share the view that it is time to act," he wrote of the former finance minister's as yet unexplained "plan for political change driven by good morals".
Mr Atavit's departure from the Democrats came only one day after Mr Korn severed ties with the party he had been with for 15 years. He said he paid a courtesy call on the party's chief adviser Chuan Leekpai on Wednesday.
He later confirmed Mr Korn will become the leader of a new party aiming to attract support from a wide section of society, especially the young.
"Khap Kluean Thai" [Steering Thailand] -- rumoured to be the name already chosen -- was only one of the possible names of the new party, he said.
Former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt, who is expected to run as an independent in the next Bangkok governor election, dismissed rumours he would be joining Mr Korn's new party.
Mr Korn and Mr Atavit are the latest among a string of senior politicians who have recently left Thailand's oldest party, while many of its new-generation Young Democrats left after new leader Jurin Laksanawisit led the party to join the coalition government.
Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, meanwhile, stepped down as an MP and as Democrat leader after the party's crushing defeat in the March general election.
Mr Chuan said one reason members were leaving was because they saw a lack of opportunity with the Democrats or at best a limited role.
He was responding yesterday after being asked if he was worried more people would flee the party.
"I can't speak for the party leader, but I do know many good members have not been given opportunities to work," he said.