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Dems can play saviour role: Abhisit

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva leads party members and prominent figures, including former prime minister Chuan Leekpai, to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the party

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva leads party members and prominent figures, including former prime minister Chuan Leekpai, to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the party

Throughout its 68-year history, the Democrat Party has been counted on to help the country when it was at an impasse. It is willing to lead it out of the current political crisis - but both sides to the conflict must first reach a comprise on the exit strategy, the party's leader said yesterday.

The party's ideology over the past 68 years has never changed. It still believes in the democratic system with His Majesty the King as head of state, party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

Three things are necessary to solve the country's problems, he said.

First, legal disputes must be sorted out by respecting the legal process - those holding power must honour the law.

Second, the political polarisation should be patched up through negotiations.

Finally, the country should author a clear roadmap for reform, Abhisit said.

"We need the political process to make clear exactly what democracy, reform and justice are," he said.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Suthep Thaugsuban, head of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee, must cooperate to determine the shape of reforms and elections, he said.

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who Abhisit said is the crux of every problem in the country, must realise that he cannot get what Thai laws cannot give.

The public's faith in the democratic system is faltering, as politicians abuse their power, condone corruption and betray the people's mandate, he said.

"It's no surprise that 14 million out of the 44 million eligible voters - excluding the five million who were blocked - were not willing to participate in the [House] election," he said.

Only 16 million out of the 49 million eligible voters cast ballots in the recent Senate election, he said.

"We should open a forum to explore answers for the people on how to reform the country to restore the faith of the people in the political system," he said.

"How can we return to the normal system - I mean elections?"

The Democrats are ready for an election whenever the election process is fair enough, he said.

"This is the path we have walked over the past 68 years," he said.

Chuan Leekpai, a former prime minister and former leader of the party, said the political crisis was caused by immorality and abuse of power.

The Democrats rely on democracy with the King as head of state, transparency, honesty and suppression of corruption, he said.

Prompong Nopparit, spokesman for the ruling Pheu Thai Party, congratulated the Democrats on the occasion of their 68th anniversary.

The party does not need to do many things to bring the country out of crisis - just end its boycott of the election, the spokesman said.

The Democrats should stop joining the protesters in street battles and restore the faith of the people in the party and electoral system.

If the Democrats lack faith in elections, their 68-year history is worthless, he added.






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