The People’s Alliance for Democracy, or PAD supporters , have given resounding approval for the formation of a PAD political party .
Core PAD member, Somsak Kosaisuk opened the meeting yesterday by asking supporters, who were gathered at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus stadium, to stand up and cheer if they agreed with the change of charter in 190, 237, and 309 measures.
The supporters remained quiet, which showed that they do not support the proposed constitutional changes.
When he asked them to stand up and cheer if they agreed with the idea of forming a political party, the supporters responded by standing up, clapping their hands and cheering loudly for 3 minutes.
The agreement came on the second day of the meeting, marking the anniversary of the PAD’s 193-day street protest, which began on May 25 last year, in an effort to oust the government, which at that time was led by the People Power Party.
Before the council meeting closed, PAD core members from across the country took to the stage to voice their support for the idea.
Meanwhile, PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila said that the group will need no more than 3 months to set up a new political party and expects to have at least 10 party-list MPs after the next elections.
He added that the group would settle on a name for the party, its structure, board of executives and branches.
Suriyasai said the group has come up with 3 potential names for new political party including Candles of Dhamma Party, the People’s Alliance for Democracy Party, and New Politics Party.
PAD Core Leader: PAD Party May Not Win as Much Votes as Expected
The People’s Alliance for Democracy core leader has announced that the PAD political party will be a tool to help create new politics in the country, and asks supporters not to give up if only a few of the party’s candidates are elected as MPs.
PAD core leader Sondhi Limthongkul announced at the council meeting in the stadium at Thammasat University Rangsit campus yesterday that PAD supporters across the country agree with the idea of forming a PAD political party.
He noted that the meeting was the start of another move toward new politics in the country, as creating a political party will be a significant tool for people to develop new politics.
Sondhi added that supporters should not be upset if the number MPs are fewer than they expect in the next election. He asked that when people become tired of the political situation in the country, they remember their fellow PAD comrades who died in the fight for democracy.
He said that he will go further with the PAD activities, as he was the first to light the candle of change in politics and lead the people in the direction of change.
Meanwhile, the PAD core leader said the mastermind behind the attempt on his life should continue waiting for his death and hoping that the people’s political moves will be destroyed.
He asked people at the convention not to panic if one of the leaders is the target of an attack, but to increase their power to defend the country against corruption.
Sondhi said he expects new politics will change the way of old politics in the country.
PAD says forming a party will take 3 months
The People’s Alliance for Democracy will need no more than three months to set up a new political party and expects to have at least 10 party-list MPs after the next elections, PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila said on Monday.
During the three months, the group would settle on a name for the party, its structure, board of executives and branches, Mr Suriyasai said.
He said the group has come up with three names for the new political party – Candles of Dharma, PAD and New Politics.
Party funding must be unconditional and transparent, he said.
He rejected reports that Rangsit University rector Arthit Urairat hs been selected as the new party’s leader.
Mr Arthit was only the organiser of the PAD’s council meeting on Sunday, the PAD coordinator said.
However, the group would not ban anyone outside the political ring taking the top post. But the person must be dedicated and uncorrupted, he said.
As for PAD co-founder Sondhi Limthongkul, he had neither turned down the possibility, nor accepted it.
Mr Suriyasai believed the party would emerge with at least 10 party-list MPs from the central, northeastern and northern regions.
PAD core member Somsak Kosaisuk said the majority of participants who attended the PAD council meeting on Sunday wanted the group to have its own political party.
He said the yellow-clad movements outside the parliament would continue even if the party is established. They will help inspect the performance of the PAD’s party impartially and objectively.
Another PAD leader Somkiat Pongpaiboon, who is also a party-list Democrat MP, said he had not considered leaving the Democrat party at the moment.
He believed the Democrat party still had values in the society, but the PAD’s party would be another alternative for the people.
Prime Minister and Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said he did not believe Democrat MPs would want to jump to other political parties, because Democrat members all share the same ideology.
MPs usually change parties just before elections, Mr Abhisit said. There is no election scheduled.
He said the PAD’s move to set up a party would benefit the democratic system.
But he was not worried by the possibility the PAD’s party would lure away some Democrat voters. Competition was a normal part of democracy, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Democrat secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban said the country would benefit if the PAD set up a political party because voters would then have more choice.
Mr Suthep congratulated the PAD leaders and welcomed them to the political arena.
He hoped the PAD would not engage in political activities outside the parliament, and said he would be interested to hear the party’s policy announcement.
He had no concerns about the PAD’s party being a rival of the Democrat party.
On the cabinet reshuffle, Mr Suthep said the government must listen to criticism and constructive comments about the different ministers to improve its overall performance.
He asked people to give the economic ministers more time as their task was difficult. They were already addressing some economic issues
It’s easy being green, says PAD
The People’s Alliance for Democracy has changed its emblematic colour from yellow to a yellow and green combo to reflect its shift to so-called new politics
The PAD’s new colour scheme was announced yesterday by movement founder Sondhi Limthongkul at the PAD’s first assembly at Rangsit University..
“Green represents a pollution-free environment and clean politics,” said Mr Sondhi, dressed in khaki slacks and a shirt with dark green stripes. “Yellow is the colour of His Majesty the King.”
The PAD leader looked fully recovered from the head wound he suffered during the attempt on his life on April 17. His car was ambushed on a Bangkok street and an unknown number of men fired on his vehicle.
“From now on we [PAD] are yellow and green,” Mr Sondhi told the crowd.
The new colours are expected to be adopted by the PAD’s party when it is officially formed.The PAD, formed in 2006, had used yellow as its emblematic colour because one of its main objectives was to protect the King and the monarchy. Yellow is the King’s birthday colour.
Green is not new to Thai politics. It was used by civil groups in a popular campaign in support of the 1997 constitution, dubbed the people’s charter.
But it remains to be seen if the PAD’s adoption of green will have the same appeal as it did for the 1997 constitution campaign.
By: KULTIDA SAMABUDDHI / Published: 25/05/2009