Top Democrats admit revamp needed if party to win at polls
Abhisit calls for unity, vows to keep eye on govtThe Democrat Party will continue to offer a political alternative for the people while actively monitoring the government's administration, party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said during the Democrats' annual meeting yesterday.
The party will act as a facilitator for people in all areas who wish to keep an eye on and report corruption, he said. The party will establish an anti-corruption website to inform people about the government's Bt2 trillion borrowing to fund infrastructure projects, and any irregularities within it. In the meantime, it will continue with its anti-corruption training for youth and promote the "Thailand Blueprint" project initiated by its Future Innovative Thailand Institute.
"Whether it's 10 years from now or 100 years, the party will remain involved with Thai politics, which continues to be plagued by periodic turmoil and conflict. But we have to continue to act with righteousness and must be determined to be with Thailand and to be a pillar so that society heads to righteousness," he said.
Speaking at the meeting, deputy leader Alongkorn Pollabutr said the party needed a structural revamp, as it had not won a national election since 1992. Unless it changed, it would not be able to win at the polls, he said.
A gap has opened up between the party's central administration and its branches, Alongkorn said, adding that the organisation needed to be unified and that all members must agree on budget administration. He added that the party had been unable to achieve electoral success despite the fact that it had more branches than any other party, with 197.
He proposed a special meeting of the party's executive to discuss restructuring.
Abhisit proposed changes to the party's regulations, including a new requirement that branch executive committees comprise at least seven members, and announced a new policy to coordinate more with local administrative agencies.
Phitsanulok MP Chuti Krairiksh said the party should promote the Blue Sky Channel among its supporters. Although the party does not own the channel, many party members appear on its programmes.
During the meeting, some members raised the issue of former party leader Bhichai Rattakul, who has criticised the party heavily of late. Abhisit defended Bhichai, saying he had the party's best interests at heart and that Abhisit himself had accepted Bhichai's criticisms of himself made long ago as a form of teaching.
He believed Bhichai had learned of the party's actions through the media and might not have received accurate and comprehensive information. The party had sent representatives to talk to Bhichai, he said.
Citing an example of the misunderstandings between the party and Bhichai, Abhisit said the party had not been aware of Bhichai's readiness to serve as an MP when it decided not to include him as a party-list candidate.
Moreover, the party did not agree with some of Bhichai's ideas, such as reaching out for talks with fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, as it might not be good for the country, Abhisit said.