The Nation

Abhisit: It's us or chaos.

Final Democrat rally promises progressive nation free of 'mob rule'

In his Democrat Party's final election rally, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva last night called on voters to choose his party over the rival Pheu Thai Party. In doing so, Abhisit promised, Thais could be assured that the country would go forward and his new government would serve all groups of people fairly - like being "under the same sky".

With this phrase, which was the theme of the Democrats' final rally before tomorrow's general election, he said every Thai citizen was fairly treated under the constitutional monarchy, with no group staying above the law or benefiting from "mob rule". "If you want to extinguish the fires in the country and want the country to go forward on an acceptable path, you need an honest government that works 100 per cent. The Democrat Party and I volunteer to lead Thailand on this path," Abhisit told his audience under a downpour at the Royal Plaza. "People who love Thailand do not want the see social division and violence in the country," he said during his one-hour address. In the rally's background was the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall - once housing the country's parliament. There were also screens broadcasting simultaneous rallies from other provinces, including Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Surat Thani, and Nakhon Si Thammarat. He said that by voting for Pheu Thai, people could expect some hardline red-shirt leaders in a new government, in addition to efforts to whitewash politicians linked to the party, particularly fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The rain began drizzling shortly before 5.30pm. It was still raining while Abhisit was addressing the large crowd of Democrat fans carrying umbrellas and wearing raincoats. The heavy rain failed to discourage tens of thousands of supporters occupying almost all the seats provided. Abhisit greeted the crowd and told them they would stand upright saluting the national anthem then the rally would begin. He took to the stage at 7pm, after former Bangkok governor Apirak Kosayodhin and Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij reminded people what the Democrats, as the ruling party, had done for them and what they planned to do next. Abhisit's address began with a video presentation of his selected words from the recent Democrat rally at Ratchaprasong Intersection - where the red shirts held their protest last year. At that earlier rally, Abhisit called on the voters to help "detoxify Thaksin". He said the voters should show the world that "Thailand cannot be bought" and that "Thailand must belong to every group in this country". The Democrats also brought a large group of people on to the stage yesterday. They were described as people who benefit from the Democrat-led government's policies over the past two years. They included farmers, street vendors, taxi drivers, motorcycle-taxi riders, and low-income parents. Under umbrellas and plastic mats used as shelters, Democrat supporters in the meantime danced with the party's songs and shouted "number 10" in support of the party's election number, after the calls of the MCs: "Democrat," "Abhisit," and "Prime Minister." The rain got stronger but the supporters still stood to listen while listening to the event's presentations including the displays of a motorcycle the owner was able to afford with the compensation received from the party's farmer-revenue guarantee. Holding a Nation reporter's hand firmly and looking into the journalist's eyes, Mariam Saisanae, 57, said: "I will vote for any party that protects the monarchy. You know well which party is attacking the monarchy. I can't accept that. Those who are the enemies to the monarchy, I'll fight to death." She came from Bangkok's Min Buri district, a stronghold of Pheu Thai candidate Vicharn Minchainant. Wirun Saisanae, 60, Mariam's husband, said he had been a Democrat fan since he was in secondary school. MR Seni Pramoj was the prime minister at that time. Kannika Somsuwan, 32, who was with a 16-month-old baby, said she had come to the rally site at 4pm. She said she liked Abhisit and thought she wanted to give the Democrats the chance to continue development of the country. At least the party does not cheat, she said, adding that the only reason she had to go home before the rally ended was that she was concerned that her baby would get sick. Reanu Uris, 69, said she came from Nonthaburi. Her origin was in the South, so she said there was no doubt she would support the party. She would not flee from the rain and would stay at the rally as long as possible. Her only concern was whether she could find a public bus to take her and her friends back home.

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