Korn 'dares' to register new party
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Korn 'dares' to register new party

Former Democrat's new vehicle hopes to attract young entrepreneurs and creative types

Kla Party founders show off the name and logo during its registration at the Election Commission on Friday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Kla Party founders show off the name and logo during its registration at the Election Commission on Friday. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

A group of representatives of a new political party founded by former Democrat MP Korn Chatikavanij has registered Kla (Dare) as the party’s name and a raised fist as the party’s logo.

Led by former Democrat MP Atavit Suwannapakdee, the group showed up at the Election Commission (EC) on Friday to register the party’s name, which was chosen from hundreds of suggestions submitted by their supporters.

Kla means dare in English.

After they left the Democrat Party, Mr Korn and Mr Atavit urged their supporters to help name a new party and promised to launch it on Feb 14, which marks Valentines’ Day. It was reported that Mr Korn, who will turn 56 next week, met many young entrepreneurs who were expected to contribute to shaping the party’s manifesto.

The party’s co-founders include Worawut Oonjai, president of the Thai Retailers Association; musician Moncheep Sivasinangkul, better known as Khru Ped; and young fashion designer Benjarong Tharana.

Mr Atavit said the name “Kla” was chosen to convey a message to those who are creative and “daring” to enter politics.

“We’d like to appeal to various groups of people,” he said. “We’re focusing on clarity and professionalism. People who have ideas refrain from politics but we want to open space for them.”

He insisted the party was not formed to accommodate MPs from the Future Forward Party, which is facing a dissolution threat next Friday over a loan from its leader, or to collect MPs for leverage in negotiating for cabinet seats. 

“We have set our eyes on the next elections, but we have to move now. With pragmatism as our core value, we need to create a proper understanding about it and the process takes time,” he said. 

According to Mr Atavit, it is too early for the party to consider whether to contest the Bangkok gubernatorial election, amid speculation that a former executive of Thai AirAsia might run on the party’s ticket.

He said the party would next collect the names of 500 official co-founders and invite those who share its views to join, adding that a general assembly was expected to be organised early next month.

Democrat MP Thepthai Senpong said the Kla Party was not a branch of the Democrat Party, from which Mr Korn resigned last month after a long career that included a spell as finance minister. In any case, he said, the new outfit will have to prove if it can live up to its name.

Meanwhile, Democrat chief adviser Chuan Leekpai said on Friday there are high and low times for parties and when a crisis hits, executives have to stick together to keep it from collapse. 

Delivering a lecture on the topic of turning a political party to a political institution, he said the Democrat Party, which has faced two dissolution cases, has weathered a number of crises to become known as a political institution.

At one time, many executives and members left to form a new party, said the former prime minister and current House Speaker.

“I never thought about leaving to form a new party. If the party had collapsed, I would just have returned to my old job as a lawyer. At that time we had only one MP in Bangkok. Now we have none in Bangkok,” he said, referring to the Democrats’ disastrous showing in the general election last month.

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