Democrats should quit coalition, senior Democrat MP says

The Democrat Party should quit the government coalition if they lose the by-elections in the South, one of its MPs told Thai Enquirer on Friday.

The by-elections in Chumphon’s Constituency 1 and Songkhla’s Constituency 6 will take place this coming Sunday.

The seats are vacant because Chumpol Julsai, a former Democrat Party MP for Chumphon, and Thaworn Senneam, a former Democrat MP for Songkhla, lost their MP status after the Criminal Court found them guilty for their roles in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee’s protests in 2013 and 2014.

“If we win, we break even since the areas belong to us,” Panich Vikisreth told Thai Enquirer by phone.

“If we lose, it shows that the Southern people, who are our voting base, are seeing that we have committed a mistake during the past three years that we have joined the government,” he said.  

Panich said the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP)’s participation in the by-elections in the Democrat’s strongholds shows that there is a competition within the coalition parties.

Recent criticism by the PPRP’s MPs against the Ministry of Commerce’s and Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives’ were also made in bad faith as they’re being run by Democrat Party Ministers.

“Whichever policy that is good, that party will claim it. If there is something that goes wrong, they will throw it to the competitor,” he said.

“This was a political attack between one another and it will not benefit the government at all since this will definitely affect the popularity of the parties within the coalition,” he said.

Panich said his party already lost the by-election in Nakhon Si Thammarat, which used to be one of the Democrat’s strongholds, last year so the results of the upcoming by-elections in the South are going to make things even clearer on how their supporters are viewing them right now.

He said the result of the governor election in Bangkok will also indicate how the electorate feels about the party.

He said the party should reconsider its position and direction if they lose the by-election in the South.

“For me, our ideology had hugely decreased since we joined a government that transitioned from a coup government…and if we lose, quitting the coalition would be the only way to recover the confidence of the people who voted for us,” Panich said.

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