Pheu Thai Derides Democrats' Polls Hesitation

Mr. Chavanond Intarakomalyasut

(12 December) The Democrat Party is still hesitant on whether to run for the next election, believed to take place on 2 February 2014.

Mr. Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, spokesman of the Democrat Party, said yesterday that members of the party will discuss about the question during the party′s general assembly on 16-17 December. 
 
In the press conference, Mr. Chavanond said the general assembly was initially scheduled to take place on 23-24 December, but political situation has forced the party executives to hasten the schedule. 
 
But a well-informed source reported that Democrat chairman, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, has already chaired a private discussion with a number of high-ranking Democrat members. 
 
"The discussion was done in a very tense atmosphere," the source said, adding that the Democrat leaders were divided into two groups of opinions: those in favour of running in the next election, and those who are not.
 
According to the source, some members were concerned that if the Democrat Party announced to take part in the election, they would risk anger former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban, who is leading a protest movement against PM Yingluck Shinawatra, and has called for an unelected ?People′s Council? as the solution for Thailand instead of an election.
 
Endorsing the new election would alienate Mr. Suthep′s supporters, this faction of the Democrat Party reportedly argued.
 
However, an opposing view in the party leadership contended that it would be very difficult for the Democrat Party to explain their rejection of the election to the public. 
 
"It′s a sensitive topic, and Mr. Abhisit is unlikely to decide on the matter at this moment," the source informed Khaosod. The source also claimed that the Democrat Party leadership has decided that they still have some time to debate the matter before the deadline for election application on 23 December. 
 
The news reports that the Democrat Party is ambiguous in its stance toward the upcoming election has led chairman of the Pheu Thai Party, Mr. Jarupong Ruangsuwan  to mock the opposition party in a press conference earlier today.
 
"I want to invite the [Democrat Party] to come out and do an elephant battle in the open," Mr. Jarupong said, after stating that Pheu Thai is ready to face its rival in the polls, "The elephant should leave the shade of the trees already. Don?t just stand there".
 
He also derided the Democrat Party for claiming that the majority of Thai people has supported its campaign against the government, yet it feared to take part in an election. 
 
Asked whether he is concerned that the Democrat Party might boycott the election, Mr. Jarupong admitted he was indeed concerned by the possibility, but said the public would judge the action of the Democrat Party. 
 
Mr. Jarupong also told reporters that although Pheu Thai leadership wants Ms. Yingluck to run in the election as the prime contender again, it solely depends on Ms. Yingluck′s decision whether she will do so. 
 
Nevertheless, the Pheu Thai chairman stressed that the party has not named any other person to run in Ms. Yingluck′s place neither. 
 
"We have only Ms. Yingluck. No other name," Mr. Jarupong insisted. 
 
 

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