Chalermchai Sri-on, the caretaker minister of agriculture and cooperatives, said yesterday he had decided to step down as secretary-general of the Democrat Party when it selects its new leader and executives on July 13.
As for whether or not the party will select a younger leader, he said that would be for a party committee to decide at the planned general assembly.
Jurin Laksanawisit announced he was quitting the role following the May 14 election, in which the country’s oldest existing party won just 25 House seats, far fewer than expected and down from 53 in 2019.
When asked how plausible it would be for the Democrats to form an alliance with the Pheu Thai Party if the Move Forward-led coalition collapses, Mr Chalermchai simply said that such a deal would have to be backed by a formal party resolution.
As for himself, Mr Chalermchai said he would become a rank-and-file member of the party when he quits as secretary-general.
He also denied rumours that the Democrats had held talks with Pheu Thai and agreed to join the latter’s bid to form the new government, saying: “No, don’t believe them [rumours].”
Deputy Interior Minister Naris Khamnurak, a former Democrat MP for Phatthalung, also dismissed the rumours of a secret deal, saying the Democrats make all important decisions through a formal party resolution.
No such proposal has ever been made or discussed, he said.
He also said the party must wait until the Election Commission has certified all 25 of its elected MPs as they make up 70% of its new board members.
As for his expectation of a future overhaul, he said the party will first have to examine the reasons it won so few seats before deciding on the extent to which younger members would be promoted into executive or leadership roles.