We're not embarrassed about poll boycott, key Democrat says
February 09, 2014 00:00
By Hataikarn Treesuwan
Both sides involved in the ongoing political conflict have been unable to declare victory after the February 2 election and will fight on until one is victorious, says new Democrat Party secretary-general Chuti Krairiksh.
The Pheu Thai Party, which is heading the caretaker government, may get the most MP seats but the election was marred by a low voter turnout and a low number of valid ballots.
The backlash followed the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee’s campaign for political reform to take place before an election was held.
At the same time, the Suthep Thaugsuban-led PDRC cannot claim that most people supported its stance when 20.5 million people voted.
But Chuti said: “They came out to vote to protect their political rights, not protect the system.”
The veteran politician said that one-third of voters he had talked to wanted the country to maintain the right to impeach politicians.
He also said voters had rejected the election, with 15 million refusing to vote, 3.4 million lodging “No vote” ballots and 2.4 million lodging invalid ballots.
“That means the caretaker government can’t use the outcome to whitewash its wrongdoings, and there is strong support to show that the Democrats made the right decision to boycott the election,” he said.
“If we took part, we might have been given a similar lesson by voters as the Pheu Thai Party.”
Chuti said he was not embarrassed to be a member of a party that had boycotted the poll, as he believes that was the right thing to do given the election’s unfairness.
Some analysts believe that the Democrats are hoping the independent agencies will pave the way for its return to power.
Chuti refuted that, saying he believed the Democrats might not contest an election until there is genuine reform – even if independent agencies decide to hold a new election.
He also ruled out the Democrats joining a national government as proposed by some academics.
“We have no need for power. So we would not deal with the caretaker government to share the power at the negotiating table … We will return to power after the reform,” he said.
Chuti said the Democrats were participants of the PDRC protests, but not the leaders.
He said the party had set an agenda based on reform, which was similar to the PDRC’s goal, but the latter was trying to spark change in a different way.
“We would be prepared to clash with the PDRC if it tried to establish an unelected People’s Council, he said.
“We are a party that cannot fight illegally. We want to do it [bring about reform] based on our beliefs and we believe that Suthep probably understands us.”
Chuti admitted that it would be hard for the Democrats to get PDRC supporters to vote for it, and the party had much work to do before that happened.