Two Senior Democrats Leave Party to Form New Faction

Attawit Suwanpakdee, left, and Korn Chatikavanij, right. Image: Matichon.

BANGKOK — Two leading members of the Democrat Party are said to be planning to launch a new group together, though details are scarce.

Former MP Attawit Suwanpakdee, who tendered his resignation today, said he and former deputy party leader Korn Chatikavanij would join force together in a “political startup,” a term seen by observers interviewed for this story as a reference to a new party.

“I agree with P’Korn that it’s time to act,” Attawit, who served as an MP from 2008 to 2014, wrote online. “The kind of politics that I want to see is politics that is quick, clear and able to handle the crisis of global change in order to take the country forward. It will be a political startup that’s outside the box, creatively governing the country.”

Korn left the Democrat Party on Wednesday after 15 years under its wings. His career with the party includes holding key posts like the Finance Minister and the party’s head of economic policies. He also served as an MP in the current Parliament session.

Korn didn’t specify the reasons for his departure in the resignation letter, though he wrote online that he would not be leaving politics for good. He could not be reached for comments on Thursday.

“I have a dream. I want to make politics of change. Politics that dare to think and act,” Korn wrote. “Politics that will encourage able people in Thai society to jointly design and propel Thailand together.”

Korn added that his future intention is to “walk together” with everyone.

When reached for comment, party leader Jurin Laksanawisit said he doesn’t know why Korn quit and maintained that he did not have any personal conflicts with Korn.

In an interview, Democrat MP Thepthai Seanapong said Korn likely resigned after it was clear that he had no important role in the party under Jurin, who replaced Abhisit Vejjajiva as the Democrat chairman in May 2019.

“It may be because Korn has no role left in the party, and he was not a party executive,” Thepthai said.

The Nakhon Si Thammarat MP also said he believes Korn has an idea to start his own political party to carry out his visions.

Political scientist Titipol Phakdeewanich said Korn’s decision to leave might be partly influenced by his failed leadership bid within the party last year.

“[Korn] didn’t see any future for himself in the Democrat Party,” said Titipol, a dean of political science faculty at Ubon Ratchathani University. “He is looking for a new opportunity, a new political role. It was severely sidelined under new leadership.”

He continued, “Someone like Korn needs a political platform and a role in politics.”

Deputy Democrat Party leader Nipit Intarasombut said losing Korn dealt a blow to the party, but added that he was confident that no exodus would follow.

“I am not sure why he left, but I personally feel that it’s a loss of an important person. He’s one of the quality members of the party,” Nipit said. “It would be wrong to say it doesn’t have an impact on the party.”