6 June 2024

The 16 rebel Democrat MPs, who voted in support of Srettha Thavisin’s prime ministerial candidacy on Tuesday, insist that they are still with the opposition, unless they are invited to join the Pheu Thai-led coalition government.

Speaking on behalf of the group at the parliament complex this morning (Thursday), Democrat deputy leader Det-it Khaothong insisted that the party did not adopt a resolution mandating how the 24 Democrat MPs should vote on Tuesday, except for a call by acting party leader Jurin Laksanawisit for the MPs to abstain.

If there was a resolution, he asked why the party’s key figures voted differently. Former leaders Chuan Leekpai and Banyat Bantadtan voted against Srettha’s candidacy while Jurin abstained.

Det-it said that the 16 of them then discussed how they should vote, adding that they made a last-minute decision to vote in support of Srettha.

The Democrat deputy leader, in charge of the party in the southern provinces, claimed that they are new-generation Democrats, who are not affiliated with either the yellow or red political groupings and, therefore, should not inherit the political rivalry of the party’s “old guard”.

Asked about his recent trip to Hong Kong, to meet Thaksin Shinawatra, Det-it claimed that he has many friends and is close to leaders of several parties, adding that he can separate his duties from personal relationships and duty from past political rivalries.

He admitted that the Democrat party now lacks unity, after the party has twice failed to convene meetings to elect a new party leader and executive committee.

Asked about the prospect that the 16 of them could be expelled from the party for their defiance, the MP said he wonders whether they will be kicked out, noting that such a decision must be approved by three quarters of the MPs and executive committee.

“The Democrat party has 24 MPs and our group has 16 MPs, I wonder which side will be expelled.” he mused.