A new political party to be launched by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) will be called Karn Muang Mai or New Politics – and its first leader will not be Sondhi Limthongkul, as expected earlier.
Somsak Kosaisuk, another of the five PAD core leaders, will be the first party leader and PAD coordinator Suriyasai Katasila will be secretary-general, Somsak said yesterday after a two-hour meeting of the 21 co-founders.
Sondhi, however, did not rule out the possibility he would be voted party leader at a general meeting of the new party expected in two months.
“There will be no party owners to order who should be the party leader. The party’s supporters will nominate candidates and vote who should be party leader,” Sondhi said. He added that the PAD would unveil next week the result of a survey of 20,000 people on the qualities they wanted in a party leader.
Sondhi said he believed he was qualified to become a party leader and that he did not think being a bankrupt in the past would prevent him from taking the job. He explained he was not a “fraudulent bankrupt”, prohibited by law from taking a political party executive post.
“Legally speaking, there are no problems; but personally speaking, I have no answer now. But I can insist that I am not afraid of attacks even after the recent assault against me,” Sondhi said.
“There are many options to becoming party leader. If people want, I may accept the post without contesting an election. I can be a torch-bearer in the campaign for new politics. When the party has MPs in Parliament and the party’s mechanism can work independently, I will resign and return to the PAD, without accepting any political appointment,” he said.
Sondhi said the PAD would be above the new political party, which would serve as a tool for the PAD’s mass politics. The PAD would oversee politicians from the New Politics Party, he added.
Somsak said yesterday’s meeting of co-founders voted for him to become the party leader and six other people to be party executives.
Apart from Somsak and Suriyasai, no other key leaders of the PAD are on the party’s executive board.
Somsak said the new party’s main objectives would be to encourage people with clean records and a history of campaigning against corruption to become lawmakers and to allow more public participation in governing the country.
Suriyasai said the party’s executive positions agreed yesterday were temporary and that a general meeting to select a new executive board would be held within 60 days after the Election Commission endorsed the party registration.
The co-founders would register a new political party with the EC tomorrow, when its logo would also be unveiled, according to Suriyasai. He said the party’s colour scheme would be yellow and green, with yellow referring to constitutional monarchy and green referring to politics that are clean, or “pollution-free”.
In his earlier interview with The Nation, Suriyasai admitted to Sondhi’s weak points that could make him vulnerable to attack from the party’s critics. Those weak points were identified as Sondhi’s hot temper in reaction to criticism and his perceived connection with ASTV, the pro-PAD satellite-based television.
Suriyasai said that although Sondhi no longer had business links with ASTV, he would have to prove there was no conflict of interest between them.
By THE NATION
Published on June 3, 2009