ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Democrat leader predicts rocky election on Feb 2
BANGKOK, Dec 18 - Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva warned today that insistence on a general election on February 2 may lead to violence and that the government should resign before it is too late.
Expressing pessimism against the snap poll, he predicted that the election will neither be smooth nor contribute to political reform, indicating that the election will instead trigger more problems.
“The point is not whether political parties boycott the election or not. The concern now is people will refuse to go to the polls,” he said.
He said Thailand’s political disputes will never be solved as long as ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra refuses to abide by the Thai laws.
“People do not believe the election will be held fairly. Why does Thai society debate on whether the election should be held before or after national reform? The February 2 election will not be smooth,” he said.
He said the Democrat Party and the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) do not object to an election and the government agrees with reform but “it is the government which started the entire entanglement.”
Mr Abhisit said the caretaker government and the Election Commission will have to jointly solve the crisis and earn the people’s trust for a fair election, otherwise people will walk away from the Constitution.
The easiest way is for the government to relinquish the caretaker role before it is too late, he warned, adding that the government must clearly explain what it will do if it is really keen on national reform.
Vichai Assarasakorn, vice president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said this is the first time (in Thai history) that the private sector plays a role in helping resolve political conflicts.
Describing the present political situation as volatile, he said he does not object to an election but he does not have faith in the agreement (for a reform after the election).
“There are many reasons that cast doubts. It’s necessary to create confidence among the people,” he said.
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