Korn sees benefit of party merger

Korn sees benefit of party merger

Chartpattanakla co-founder says party has chance to steer development

"Bread-and-butter issues deserve to be given a priority because if we cannot resolve them, what else could we do to improve quality of life?" - Korn Chatikavanij.

Korn Chatikavanij, a former finance minister whose Kla Party recently merged with Chart Pattana Party to form the Chartpattanakla Party, believes the new party under his leadership has a good combination of young people and veteran politicians.

He sees the party winning at the next election up to 25 seats in parliament which he said will be sufficient for the party to secure the right to lead the formation of a new coalition government.

He said he has felt the improved strength of the merged party ahead of the new polls. In a past debate in the House of Representatives, for instance, the party helped small local makers of alcoholic beverages obtain a licence, said Mr Korn.

Speaking of the new election, he said, Chartpattanakla Party wants a chance to lead the restructuring of Thailand's economy, a mission that requires young people with experience and knowledge in both economics and politics to implement.

With the two generations working side by side, he believes the party will create a political "phenomenon".

"Before the merger, Kla Party basically had a political stronghold only in the South and Bangkok, while Chart Pattana Party's stronghold was mainly in Nakhon Ratchasima and some other provinces in the Northeast," he said.

Chart Pattana Party had a number of former cabinet ministers in hand, but lacked new faces.

"And now the parties are united as Chartpattanakla Party, it has a larger political base and is more ready than ever to partner with other parties and groups," he said.

"Bread-and-butter issues deserve to be given a priority because if we cannot resolve them, what else could we do to improve quality of life?" he said when asked about the party's priorities in restructuring the economy.

Aside from these matters, other areas of the government's work do require restructuring, he said, adding the government's public service system, for instance, now needs to go fully online to help save costs while improving transparency.

Efficiency improvements in the armed forces is another area in which Chartpattanakla Party is determined to focus on after the election, he said.

The party has received a warm welcome in the political sphere following its merger, given the high public awareness of the party's restructuring in the media.

Describing the party as a "liberal democracy", Mr Korn said, the party welcomes diversity in society and does not consider any parties with different opinions as a foe.

As for the number of candidates the party will field at the election, he said the party won't compete in all constituencies.

Instead, it will focus on areas where it has a good potential to win such as Bangkok, where the party aims to field candidates in all constituencies.

Mr Korn is confident in the party's popularity in Bangkok where his party has been working in communities for many years, saying if voters in the capital give the party an opportunity to win enough seats to nominate its prime ministerial candidate, it won't let them down.

"We will need at least 25 seats to get that opportunity, which won't be easy but we're ready to fight for it," he said.

When it comes to forming a coalition government, Chartpattanakla Party will be happy to join hands with any sides as long as its political ideology won't be compromised.

One classic problem he has observed among the coalition partners is their lack of determination to stand by their own policies when working together.

So, he is urging any parties interested in partnering with Chartpattanakla Party to communicate clearly from the beginning what they expect.

This way, he believes all parties will have enough information to decide whether they should work together in a new coalition government.

Actually, all parties should communicate their policies during the campaign and stick to them after the results are known, he said.

The next prime minister should be a person with sound knowledge in economics, said Mr Korn.

"It doesn't have to be me. There are other experts in this field. More importantly, as the world has been changing in terms of technology and economy development, the country's development requires knowledge in more than one discipline," he said.

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