Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has dismissed speculation that at least a dozen former MPs from his party are going to join a new political group that is pro-junta.
Abhisit said on Friday that he has been aware of an ongoing attempt by the Sam Mit (Three Friends) group to woo Democrat politicians.
However, he has not heard of any current Democrat politician going to join Sam Mit, Abhisit said.
Sam Mit is led by veteran politicians Suriya Juengrungruangkit and Somsak Thepsuthin. They are linked to the newly formed Palang Pracharat Party, which plans to nominate the junta leader, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, as its prime ministerial candidate in the next election.
Abhisit said on Friday Surasit Trithong, a former Democrat MP, was reportedly joining Sam Mit, resigned from the party in 2011. Some other Democrat politicians have dismissed reports of their defections, according to the Democrat leader.
Abhisit said he was confident all the current Democrat politicians have made their decisions to remain with the party.
“We at the Democrat Party agree that it’s best to stick to our ideology. It’s not sustainable to focus on immediate benefits offered, such as money or political positions,” he said.
Abhisit said political parties have the right to woo former MPs from other parties if they use a legitimate method. He called on politicians to build faith among the public in order to keep the country’s democracy sustainable.
In response to possible numbers game after the next election, Abhisit said: “We hope voters will give the answer on the election day.”
The Democrat leader, however, confirmed reports that some of the party’s ex-MPs in the deep south were going to join Action Coalition for Thailand Party, a new party co-founded by former Democrat secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban. But Abhisit added that his party would not have any problem finding election candidates to replace defecting former MPs.
Democrat politicians gathered at the party’s headquarters on Friday to mark Abhisit’s 54th birthday. They included party seniors like former Democrat leader Chuan Leekpai, former deputy leader Marut Bunnag and current secretary general Juti Krairiksh.
Politicians from other political parties also joined the event with bouquets of flowers.
Suthep did not attend the birthday party but he sent flowers.