MAHACHON PARTY: Name change approved

Rassadorn is history; candidates for national poll next on new party's agenda The Election Commission (EC)'s Political Party Registrar has endorsed the Rassadorn Party's application to have its name changed to Mahachon Party, Mahachon deputy secretary-general Pan Puengsujarit said yesterday. Virachai Naewboonnien, EC commissioner and its caretaker chairman, two days ago signed papers endorsing Rassadorn's application for a change in its name and its policy platform. Rassadorn's bid had earlier run into snags when a group led by Prapansak Kamolphet claimed ownership to the name of Mahachon (Public). EC chairman Vasana Puemlarp, in his capacity as the Political Party Registrar, favoured Rassadorn over Prapansak's group because the former had sufficient documentation to register as a political party, according to Pokkrong Sunthornsuthi, EC deputy secretary-general on political party affairs. Prapansak's group still had the right to register a new political party but it could no longer use the name Mahachon, Pokkrong said. Pan said yesterday that with the naming dispute settled, Mahachon would next week begin introducing its candidates for next year's general election. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, leader of the ruling Thai Rak Thai Party, yesterday expressed doubt whether Mahachon's platform of an "advanced welfare state" would work. He said the concept of a welfare state has proved "risky" and that it has led to problems in many countries. "It spoils people and I don't see any country ever succeeding in becoming a welfare state. The key is the right formula and not the extreme on either side of the scale," he said during a visit to Chiang Mai yesterday. In a related development, the Democrat Party said yesterday it would rewrite some of its policy platforms to make them distinct from those of the Mahachon Party. Mahachon on Monday unveiled a plan to provide free education to all students until they complete their undergraduate degree. Democrat deputy spokesman Naris Khamnurak said yesterday that the party would rewrite its education and other platforms. A number of Mahachon's co-founders are from the Democrat Party.


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