The People’s Alliance for Democracy is making preparations to form a new political party, which may be named Thien Hang Tham Party (Candles for Righteousness), sources said yesterday.
The new party is likely to be headed by PAD co-leader Chamlong Srimuang and its key agenda is to push for the realisation of “new politics”, according to the sources.
Chamlong was once founder and leader of the Palang Dharma Party. After stepping down as that party’s leader, he was replaced by Thaksin Shinawatra, who later became prime minister.
The PAD is expected soon to organise a national convention of its supporters from across the country to pave the way for the party’s formation.
The PAD wants to reshape the Thai political landscape in order to overcome party domination by financiers, the prevailing system known as rogue capitalism-driven.
The new party should be a mass movement modelled after the green movement for environmental conservation, or the labour movement.
On the drawing board are ideas like the screening of electoral candidates chosen and endorsed by local voters instead of the party executive board, the nomination of Cabinet members based on job qualifications and not partisan quotas, and a ban on MPs concurrently holding ministerial appointments.
Suriyasai Katasila, the PAD’s coordinator, said yesterday it was “highly likely” a new political party would be set up to push for the PAD’s ideas on new politics.
He said the current political parties, including the ruling Democrat Party, had no potential for realising the new political ideology. “They have a lot of limitations that keep them stuck in the old cycle,” he said.
Suriyasai said there were calls from many PAD supporters for a new political party to facilitate the group’s political campaigns. He added that it was not easy to establish a new party and it would be time-consuming to become well organised.
PAD co-leader Pipop Thongchai said the evolution of the PAD had reached a point of becoming a genuine mass movement, warranting party formation as a logical next step.
In Europe, environmental activists have elevated their fight via the political party after their green movement gained prominence and acceptance by the people, he said.
Pipop said he was ready to support the party’s formation although he would not get directly involved in its management. He added he wanted to focus on continuing to promote public participation rather than move to partisan politicking.
Pipop said that another co-leader Sondhi Limthongkul would devote his attention to running ASTV, the satellite broadcasting station, instead of taking a lead role in the new party.
Co-leader Chaiwat Sinsuwong had earlier decided to form a separate party which may or may not merge with the new party at a later date, he said.
According to information from the Election Commission, a political party called Tien Haeng Dhama was registered on April 28, 2008. Its Thai spelling is the same as that of one planned by the PAD.
Earlier, there were rumours by its critics that the PAD had registered a new political party with that name.
The registered Tien Haeng Dhama had Thanakorn Vitakuldejthawee as party leader and Jantima Vitakuldejthawee as secretary-general. It has nine people registered as executive board members and its head office is in Nakhon Ratchasima.
By The Nation
Published on March 6, 2009