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Small parties name three figures they will back as new PM

About 30 small and little-known political parties have formed a group called

About 30 small and little-known political parties have formed a group called

A group of 30 small and little-known political parties yesterday short-listed three prominent figures they would support as a new leader to try to lead Thailand out of the political crisis.

The parties yesterday formed a group called "United Parties for Democracy" and announced their resolution.

They resolved that they would support either Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana, a legal expert with Pheu Thai Party, Supachai Panitchpakdi, the former secretary general of the UN Conference on Trade and Development, and Dr Boon Vanasin, chairman of Thonburi Hospital Group, as a candidate to become the next prime minister.

The group would invite the three to contest the next election and said it would join a discussion with the Election Commission on Tuesday about the new election date.

Meanwhile, EC secretary general Puchong Nutrawong said yesterday the Democrat Party and 63 other parties have agreed to meet the Election Commission on Tuesday.

Puchong said Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and deputy leader Chamni Sakdiseth would represent the party to join the discussion on the date for a new election.

He said so far 67 parties had sent a reply to the EC and only three stated that they would not join the discussion. They are Kasikorn Thai Party, Pua Fah Din Party, and Thai Maharat Pattana Party.

Pheu Thai leader Charupong Ruangsuwan and Bhokin Bhalakula would also join the talks, Puchong said.

He said the EC would like to hear parties' opinions before holding talks with security agencies later on when the new election should be held. He said the soonest election date could be 60 days after the government issues a new royal decree to set a new poll date.

Puchong said the EC might meet the government later this month to discuss a new election date. He said the EC Office had drafted new regulations on candidacy registration to prevent blockades like those that occurred before the February 2 election. Poll candidates may be allowed to apply via the Internet or in writing, he said.

The secretary general said the EC had filed complaints with police against protesters who blocked voting in 22 provinces and police were carrying out investigations in 19 cases.

Apart from the 19 cases, the EC also filed six complaints in six other cases with the Department of Special Investigations against people who blocked elections in Bangkok, Puchong said.






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