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Too early to say if Democrats will run: party official

Democrat party secretary-general Chuti Krairiksh said yesterday that it was too early for the party to decide whether to run in a fresh election after the February 2 election was nullified by the charter court last week. "We are ready [to contest an election] if the political turmoil ends. But the impasse is still continuing," he said.

He added that the government should take all responsibility for holding a fair and peaceful election. It is also the government's duty to ensure that the opposition candidates will not be threatened during their election campaigns.

Earlier, it was reported that the Democrats would yesterday ask for a secret ballot to vote on whether the party should join the election, and that most would vote to participate in the national poll rather than boycotting it as they did on February 2. Meanwhile yesterday, Democrat Party deputy leader Apirak Kosayodhin kicked off a party assembly to discuss proposals on how to reform Thailand.

Apirak represented party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, who is recovering from an injury, in launching the assembly at the Miracle Grand Hotel.

He presented a blueprint for reforming the country with seven aspects highlighted for members of the party to discuss.

Among other things, the Democrats will push for elections to select all provincial governors, restructuring of the economic system to reduce wealth disparity, and reform of the police, Apirak told the assembly.

An activist who earlier attempted to disrupt a seminar was hit and kicked as he tried to interrupt the assembly at the hotel.

Ake Auttagorn, who arrived with four women, was surrounded by ordinary members of the party who shouted at him and chased him from the fourth floor of the hotel to the lobby.

Party members accused him of being a "servant of Thaksin", to which he retorted that they were "servants of a dictator". During the commotion, someone hit Ake in the face, knocking off his sunglasses. Another jump-kicked him on the back.

He was taken out of the hotel by security officers.

Meanwhile, Abhisit was discharged from hospital after surgery for a fractured collarbone.


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