Thailand: Top Democrats meet to discuss leader vote

  • The Democrat Party will announce its official party leader for the upcoming general election on Nov 11, after it conducts the first ever primary vote in its 72-year history in Nov 18.
  • To date, three individuals have declared their candidacy for the position, Democrat deputy leader Jurin Laksanavisit said. They are current party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, former deputy leader Alongkorn Ponlaboot and former Democrat Phitsanulok MP Warong Dechgitvigrom.
  • Mr Jurin said party members at the meeting unanimously agreed to adopt a primary voting system to elect their next leader, citing their belief in democracy through public involvement. According to him, all Democrat Party members are entitled to vote for a leader. He said the party has around 81,000 active members who have shown an interest in voting, out of its 2.5 million nationwide registered members. The party will also accept new membership applications from now until Oct 15, he added.
  • Formal registration for leadership candidates will commence on Oct 8. The party also announced formal criteria for all candidates. Firstly, they must possess documented support from at least 20 existing or former Democrat MPs. If they are unable to find enough support from MPs, they may choose a second option, which comprises gaining at least 500 party-member votes per region in the country.
  • “Outsiders who are interested in running for party leader will have to do double what has been asked,” Mr Jurin said. “This means gaining support from at least 40 MPs, or from 1,000 party members per region.”
  • In an earlier development, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon last month denied the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) was backing any particular candidate. Mr Alongkorn had earlier been linked to the NCPO by former Democrat list MPs, as he is also the former deputy chairman of the National Reform Steering Assembly.

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