The cruellest blow of many suffered by the Democrat Party on Sunday might have been the loss of a heretofore-untouchable House seat representing Constituency 1 in Trang, home province of its revered former leader Chuan Leekpai.
Niphan Sirithorn of the Phalang Pracharat Party, a former governor of the southern province, snatched it away from veteran Democrat campaigner Sukij Attopakorn.
In a ballot count that remains unofficial pending Election Commission endorsement, Niphan garnered 37,849 votes to Sukij’s 36,297.
Constituency 1 was regarded as the “capital” of Democrat strength.
Chuan, who twice served as prime minister, votes there and is greatly admired locally, so previously all a Democrat candidate needed to win was his blessing.
Chuan, now chief adviser of the Democrats, monitored the counting of votes in Trang from his home, in the company of about 100 party supporters and canvassers.
The gathering fell silent when Abhisit Vejjajiva announced on TV late Sunday night that he was fulfilling a vow to resign as party leader if the Democrats failed to win at least 100 seats.
Unofficial results on Monday morning gave the party 55 seats.
The Democrats’ Sathit Wongnongtoey will be returning to Parliament to represent Trang’s Constituency 2, having won 45,431 votes to beat Phalang Pracharat’s Wiroj Thong-oh-iam, who mustered 32,119 votes.