Former Democrat Party leader Chuan Leekpai has expressed no surprise at the decision of a group of 21 MPs to support Chalermchai Sri-on for the party's leadership, citing the acting party secretary-general's care for them over the past four years.
Mr Chuan, a list-Democrat MP and former prime minister, on Friday was responding to reports that the 21 Democrats had resolved to vote for Mr Chalermchai as the ninth leader of the country’s oldest political party during Saturday's party general assembly, where a new leader and members of the executive committee would be elected.
The veteran politician, 85, expressed hope for a smooth election of the party leader. However, he mentioned being unaware of certain MPs nominating Mr Chalermchai for the leadership post, saying he just learned about the matter through news reports.
"In fact, it's nothing strange because Pol Maj Gen Surin Palare (a Democrat MP for Songkhla) spoke at party meetings many times about election of the party leader, stating that it's up to the secretary-general to order," said Mr Chuan. "The secretary-general has taken care of them (MPs) for four years."
When asked about his preference for the new party leader, he mentioned that a party meeting had not taken place yet, and he was unaware of the contenders for the party leadership. Nevertheless, he extended his encouragement to all contenders.
On Watanya Bunnag, better known as "Madam Dear" who announced her quest for the party leadership, Mr Chuan expressed his encouragement for her, citing her determination as admirable. However, he insisted that the decision on the new party leader ultimately rested with the party members.
The opposition party has failed in two attempts to hold a general assembly to elect a new executive committee after the resignation of Jurin Laksanawisit as party leader due to lack of quorum. Last month, Mr Jurin resigned as acting party leader.