LOEI — Environmental and Civil Rights activist Lertsak Kamkongsak has been elected leader of Commoner Party.
Almost 300 members of the new party from throughout the kingdom converged on Loei province for its first meeting, one of many since the junta partially eased its ban on civilian politics in the run-up to a possible February election.
Some army officers went to observe the meeting Saturday and warned them not to violate the regulations of the Election Commission.
Grassroots organizer Kittichai Ngamchaipisit was chosen by 294 members as secretary general and political activist Pakorn Areekul as party spokesman. Four deputies were elected on the same day, including LGBT and human rights activist Chumaporn Taengkliang.
“We expect elections next year. From now, we will launch a commoner caravan to listen to people’s aspirations and come up with policies. We will also disarm the junta’s weapons with our bare hands by pushing for the abrogation of their orders so they won’t pose obstacles,” Lertsak said.
“It’s time for commoners… We have started walking and we walk into the parliament to solve problems by ourselves,” Kittichai said Saturday in a brief statement read on behalf of the party.
“We are just performing our duty for common people,” said deputy leader Chumaporn, adding that the party will also push for gender equality. “As a deputy leader, let me reiterate that the voices of the people will be most important.
The party motto is: grassroots democracy, egalitarianism and human rights.
Kittichai said the party would allow its members to determine policy.
Other policies discussed included demilitarizing the junta, shutting down a gold mine blamed for sickening a Loei community and legalizing liquor production.
On Facebook, some praised the party for its unconventional meeting. Facebook user Midori Kikochi wrote:
“No suits, no hotel, just two bare hands.”
The meeting took place on the lawn of a Wat Noensawang. Many in attendance were rural residents wearing T-shirts printed with the party logo.