Yingluck using state funds to woo voters: Dems

national December 20, 2013 00:00

By Prapasri Osathanon,
Praphan J

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Opposition gives her till Sunday to step down, warns of civil unrest otherwise

The Democrat Party yesterday demanded that caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra step down by Sunday, as it accused her of using state funds to boost her popularity in the North and Northeast and campaign for votes for the February 2 election. 

Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said she was putting other political parties at a disadvantage by using the state funds and resources at her disposal to visit provinces and campaign for votes. 
“By doing that, she can win the hearts of people in the North and Northeast, but people in the South cannot accept her behaviour and see her running away from problems,” he said, adding that the People’s Democratic Reform Committee would stage a mass rally on Sunday. 
“We don’t want to see civil unrest, so she has 48 hours to contribute to the country by stepping down,’’ he said. 
The Democrat Party has asked its 180 provincial branches to seek their constituents’ opinions about whether the party should boycott the February 2 election. Chavanond said the party would call a meeting tomorrow to make a final decision on the matter.
Meanwhile, former Democrat deputy leader Alongkorn Ponlaboot (@alongkornpb) tweeted that he was sticking with the Democrat Party after rumours were heard that he was planning to defect to Chart Thai Pattana for not being elected as a party executive. 
Former Democrat party-list MP Boonyod Suktinthai, meanwhile, said he would gather evidence of wrongdoings by permanent officials who may abuse their power by serving politicians in the government camp during the election campaign. He also warned the TV Pool of Thailand against using media coverage for political interests.
He said he would file formal complaints with the Election Commission if any wrongdoing were committed during the election campaign. Boonyod also called on Yingluck not to gain the upper hand by using state funds to campaign for votes. 
Meanwhile, Sunisa Lertpakawat, deputy spokeswoman for the caretaker government, said Yingluck’s position as caretaker prime minister would not necessarily help her win the election, as it did not help Abhisit Vejjajiva win while he was caretaker PM in 2011. 
Pheu Thai spokesman Promphong Nopparit said the party was ready to take up the challenge of the February 2 election and next Monday, party leader Churupong Ruangsuwan would lead members to register as party-list MPs. 
He added that the party’s policies were resolving people’s problems, especially in terms of business and political reform. He also warned that if the Democrat Party did not participate in the poll, he would call on the EC to dissolve the party and recall the subsidies granted to political parties. 

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