Abhisit concerned over junta seeking to attract political party members to serve its interests

politics April 17, 2018 07:00

By The Nation

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Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva on Monday criticised the ruling junta for "offering rewards" to attract political party members with a view to serving its own interests, after an ex-MP resigned from the party’s ranks to serve as deputy Bangkok governor.

“It could create a misuse of power and corruption,” Abhisit said. “I believe that working for a certain entity with a clear stance should be more politically sustainable than having to always run around for power.”

The former prime minister was speaking after Sakoltee Phattiyakul last week left the Democrats to serve in a senior capacity at the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).

Sakoltee, who is also a key figure in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee, reportedly met with Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak before taking the decision.

“He met me a day before getting the position at the BMA. I told him to resign [from the party] beforehand, which I think he intended to do,” Abhisit said.

“The [military-led] government has rarely brought political figures into its circle. For this case, however, we should wait and see whether Sakoltee leaves the party to perform justly or to join other parties,” he added.

Somkid, who has declared his support for PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha to continue in power by becoming the next premier after a general election, is also subject to speculation that he will set up, or at least back, a pro-Prayut party to contest in the national poll.

While Somkid’s tentative establishment of a party would not break any law, Abhisit said that in his opinion it would still run counter to the will of the Constitution, which is to prevent the ruling authority from benefiting from the holding of an election.