11 July 2024

Former Democrat leader Chuan Leekpai admitted today that the party has reached the lowest point in its 77-year history, but he hopes it will not fall any further. ‘I hope that the party remains honest with the people under the new leadership of Chalermchai Srion,” he stated.

He also said that he will not abandon the party, will continue to provide his support and hoped Abhisit Vejjajiva, another former party leader who resigned on Saturday, will come back into the fold.

Chuan said he did not anticipate that some party members would quit around the election of the new party leadership and does not know for sure how many more will resign, adding that he regrets the loss of some talented people.

He admitted that there was lobbying among voting party members in support of Chalermchai and against the other candidate, Watanya Bunnag, citing a statement by MP Pol Maj-Gen Surin Palarae that Chalermchai, a former party secretary-general, has been supporting most of the party’s MPs over the past four years.

He said Chalermchai admitted that he broke his own promise about leaving politics for good, adding that he has warned the party’s new leadership not to join the coalition government.

Chuan admitted that he and two other former leaders, Banyat Bantadtan and Abhisit, were jointly responsible for backing Jurin Laksanawisit as party leader over four years ago, in the face of heavy lobbying for other candidates.

He said the leadership under Jurin and his secretary-general Chalermchai had, however, under-performed over the past four years and had brought the party to its lowest point.

Chuan, a former prime minister, said he nominated Abhisit as another candidate for the leadership on Saturday, hoping that the he could salvage the party under, but didn’t expect Abhisit to leave the party. He says that he hopes Abhisit will not wash his hands of politics yet.

As for Watanya, who was found unqualified to stand for the leadership, Chuan said he did ask the meeting on Saturday to give her a chance to enter the race, but his plea went unheeded.

He also reminded the new executive committee to ensure that there is no repeat of the conduct of the 16 MPs who defied the party whip to vote in support of Srettha Thavisin’s prime ministerial candidacy.