Core leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) – the so-called “Yellow Shirt” protesters — are expected to decide Monday whether the activist group which had helped torpedo three Thai governments in less than three years should form their own political party instead of fighting on the streets as they had been doing.
Five main PAD leaders on Sunday took turns delivering speeches to their supporters during the group’s convention at a university on the outskirts of Bangkok.
Amid tight security, core leader Sondhi Limthongkul told his audience that the convention is aimed at brainstorming and seeking a unanimous decision among the PAD’s supporters regarding whether their own political party should be formed.
Forming a political party should lead to better changes, especially in amending the country’s constitution, said Mr. Sondhi, adding that the group’s supporters may have to donate money to help strengthened the party if it is formed.
Another key leader of the PAD, retired Maj-Gen. Chamlong Srimuang, has shown some opposition to his movement being reconstituted as a political party. (TNA)
MCOT May 24 (TNA)
PAD co-leader Chamlong: Government failure leads to party formation consideration
Retired Maj-Gen. Chamlong Srimuang, a top leader of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), identified by their yellow shirts, said Sunday that the PAD is seriously considering forming their own political party because the government has failed in performing its duties.
Gen. Chamlong, founder and former leader of the now defunct Palang Dharma political party, said the PAD’s idea of establishing a political party came after the end of its massive demonstration last year. The move which he said cleared the way for the current coalition government to come in to power.
The PAD may announce its decision on Monday.
But the present government has failed to carry out its duty as the PAD wished, he said, which has led to the protest movement to reconsider its options.
Members and supporters of the PAD convened at a university on the outskirts of Bangkok and, according to Gen. Chamlong, two major issues including whether a political party of their own should be formed and whether the present constitution should be amended are being discussed. Participants are expected to come up with their decision on Monday.
Reiterating that the PAD has no conflict with any existing political parties, Maj. Gen. Chamlong said core leaders of the group have not yet discussed on who should lead the party if it is formed.
MCOT , May 24 (TNA)
PAD chiefs, supporters agree to new party
Leaders and supporters of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) in a major assembly agreed yesterday to set up their own political party to drive for their “new politics”.
The assembly, which was attended some 2,000 PAD representatives from throughout the country, decided to oppose the idea of amending the military-sponsored 2007 Constitution.
They allowed key leaders to retract their earlier declarations of seeking no political position, providing the legitimacy for them to run the party and possibly accept a position in the government.
Many PAD leaders, notably media tycoon Sondhi Limthongkul, promised the public they would not accept any political position when the PAD was protesting against the Shinawatra Thaksin government.
“Slap my face with your shoes if one day I take any political position,” Sondhi once said.
A representative from an eastern province said the PAD leaders should now withdraw their earlier promises not to accept a political appointment because the promises were made a long time ago and the situation had now changed.
PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila said more than 90 per cent of supporters around the country wanted the PAD to set up a party.
The five leaders are to draw up the party’s structure and put it to the members for endorsement later, he said.
The process of party transformation would take three months, he said, and noted that there was no name for a party leader in mind.
“The leader must be clean and honest,” he said.
Suriyasai said the PAD would select one of the three names for the new party – Dharma Candle Party, PAD Party and New Politics Party – this would be done by a public vote to be conducted through ASTV broadcasts.
He said the result of the vote for the party’s title should be known by next week.
Sondhi said the PAD had become an institution so a new party, if formed, would become part of the establishment.
He said it would be up to the voice of the people as to whether one of PAD leaders would become the leader of the new party or not.
He said the new party would have a committee in charge of enforcing party rules and the five PAD leaders would be on the committee.
He urged PAD supporters to retain their faith in the leader and warned that the party would not become successful overnight in their fight for “new politics”.
PAD supporters may have to donate Bt100 each month to help support the new party, Sondhi said.
Sunthorn Rakwong, a representative from the South, said southern PAD supporters would not mind if the PAD establishes a party if it will fight for clean politics.
He said southern PAD supporters disagreed with charter amendments and would not support the Democrat Party if it moved to rewrite it.
Sirichai Maignarm, a second-generation PAD leader, said if a party was set up, the PAD would continue to function as a pressure group to work in parallel with the party to keep in check those in power.
By The Nation
Published on May 25, 2009