11 July 2024

Chalermchai Srion was elected the new Democrat Party leader today, pledging to rebuild party unity, lead the party forward and uphold the party’s principles and ideologies.

He was the sole candidate for the leadership, after former party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva withdrew and Watanya Bunnag was found to be insufficiently qualified.

Chalermchai, the ninth Democrat leader, won 88.5% of the 260 party member votes, according to Samart Ratchapolsitte, a party election committee member.

Read : Chalermchai Srion: The man holding the keys to Democrat Party’s future

A former party secretary-general, Chalermchai replaces Jurin Laksanawisit, who stepped down to take responsibility for the party’s poor showing in the polls this year and Chalermchai had vowed to wash his hands of politics following the party’s devastating defeat.

He has, however, broken his vow and returned to take the top job in the party, after being convinced to do so by a group of Democrat MPs.

Earlier, Abhisit Vejjajiva, who met privately with Chalermchai, told the party’s general meeting that he had decided to withdraw from the leadership race and resign from the party.

Abhisit said he will not join another party “as my blood will be blue (the colour of the Democrat party) until my death,” adding that, in the future, he may help the party if needed. He then left the meeting.

Later, the meeting voted on whether to accept Watanya’s candidacy, as her qualifications did not meet the party’s requirements for a party leader candidate. An exception to the party rules for Watanya’s candidature was supported by less than the required of the 260 members present, so she was unable to run.

Watanya Bunnag

She then left the meeting and said that she would consider whether to continue with the party or not.