Chuan's return 'worth considering'

Chuan's return 'worth considering'

Dems mull bringing ex-chief to lead party

Chuan Leekpai: Could boost morale
Chuan Leekpai: Could boost morale

A suggestion that House Speaker Chuan Leekpai should return to lead the Democrats is worth considering in a bid to restore public faith in the party, according to Deputy Democrat Party leader Sathit Pitutecha.

The suggestion was made on Tuesday by former Democrat secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban who urged the party's executive committee to show responsibility for the sexual misconduct accusations against its disgraced former deputy leader, Prinn Panitchpakdi, to restore public confidence in the party.

Mr Suthep quit the Democrats and co-founded the Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT) Party.

Mr Suthep said changing the line-up of the committee could be a shot in the arm for the Democrat Party, which is facing one of its worst crises from the sex scandal.

The ACT co-founder also said if House Speaker and Democrat chief adviser Chuan were to "take care of the party" himself, it would shore up the morale of party members. Mr Chuan formerly served as the Democrat leader.

On Wednesday, Mr Sathit said that as a former Democrat member, Mr Suthep's opinions and suggestions should be respected. The party executive board should be obliged to consider them.

Despite growing pressure, Jurin Laksanawisit has consistently refused to step down as leader, saying he was driven by responsibility to remain at the helm to deal with the problems stemming from the scandal.

Mr Sathit admitted he was heavy-hearted about the sex scandal and its implications for the party. He insisted he was bracing for the people's "decision", a reference to speculation of a major Democrat setback at the next polls brought on by the scandal.

However, Mr Sathit said the Democrats must move forward and restore faith in the party.

This week, seven female members, including deputy governor spokeswoman Rachada Dhnadirek, announced their intention to remain on the party's executive board despite earlier speculation that they would quit in a show of disapproval at the party's less than robust response to the sex scandal. Ms Rachada said she and other female executives still had confidence in the party's ideology.

Before that, Democrat list-MP Panich Vikitsreth called on any one of the party's many respected figures, who previously headed the party, to assume the leadership again. The choice of leadership should not be limited to former Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, he said, dismissing a theory that the call for executives and Mr Jurin to step down was to pave the way for Mr Abhisit's return.

Mr Panich agreed Mr Chuan and another former Democrat leader, Banyat Bantadtan, could also make the cut.

Meanwhile, a group calling itself Democrat supporters of the Northeast on Wednesday issued a statement on Wednesday supporting Mr Jurin.

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