Internet Chips in to Help Name New Party

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. Photo: Bodintorn Juangroongruangkit / Facebook

BANGKOK — A progressive political party expected to join the next election hasn’t yet registered its name, but the internet is already pitching in, however seriously.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, 39, the billionaire automobile parts scion, has all but announced that he will lead the new party comprised of academics and pro-democracy activists – but he hasn’t mentioned a name. That’s prompted netizens on Twitter and Facebook to launch #HelpThanathornNameHisParty, with 22,600 tweets using the hashtag as of Thursday.

Read: Billionaire Foe of Thai Old Guard to Lead Progressive Party

Suggestions have included the Star Wars-inspired “New Hope Party,” the loquacious “The Power of the New Generation Who Are Sick and Tired of Seeing the Old Generation Destroy the Country, Without Being Able to Do Anything Party” and the presently topical “Black Panther Party.”

The proposed party, which is expected to register next week, is said to have already drawn young progressives into its fold such as Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, a Thammasat University law professor.

On Monday, the leader of the ruling junta dismissed reporters questions about whether new parties such as Thanatorn’s posed a challenge the junta, saying people can decide who to support.

Thanathorn’s family firm, Thai Summit Group, owns a large stake in Matichon Group, the parent company of Khaosod and Khaosod English. He sits on the company board and is expected to resign.

“Since Khun Thanathorn and Aj. [Piyabutr] are the new hope of the young, here’s a name I thought of as a young person. It’s cool and original, and if it’s not cool I’ll jump into the Mekong: ‘New Hope Party,’” tweeted @moouant.

“This is the cutest, funniest, most creative and most democratic hashtag in many months. (Citizens are participating and brainstorming a party name!)” tweeted @Bkksnow.

“Thanathorn’s party should convey the power of the new generation who are sick and tired of seeing the old generation destroy the country, without being able to do anything. Therefore I would like his party to be named, The Power of the New Generation Who Are Sick and Tired of Seeing the Old Generation Destroy the Country, Without Being Able to Do Anything Party,” @Cuteboyth tweeted.

“The Black Panther Party. Every time you say the name, the whole system is shaken up,” @Nidnight2000 tweeted.

Others were unimpressed with the enthusiasm shown by the young Twitter demographic for a politician.

The word for party, pak, is also a homonym for words that mean “these days” or “rest.”

“Give the junta a rest,” @Sps_sc tweeted.

“The watch is quiet these days,” @Yut_steelcity tweeted in reference to a scandal involving deputy junta leader Prawit Wongsuwan and dozens of undeclared luxury watches.

“We don’t talk much these days,” @Sickpsych_ tweeted, in an apparent romantic mood.