ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Democrat Party boycotts Feb 2 general election
BANGKOK, Dec 21 -- Democrat Party has decided to boycott the general election set for February 2, saying it has considered it thoroughly and would be ready to contest only after the countrywide political reform has been completed.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has told a press briefing after a meeting of the executive board of directors and former MPs that the party has resolved not to participate in the February 2 general election.
All party members nationwide have participated in giving recommendations for the resolution, he said.
Mr Abhisit said that the decision came out after the party agreed that Thai political condition was considered a failure for not less than 8-9 years as the democracy procedures were twisted by some groups of people.
This have caused the public to lose faith in political parties and the electoral system, he said, adding that if conditions still persisted, with no political reform, the country would not change and risked continuous corruption.
He said the Democrat Party believed this election would not solve the country's problems.
He said that although the party would not field any candidates into the election, it would not obstruct the election process and would not support any changes that were beyond the Constitution.
The Democrat Party MPs earlier resigned en masse to join the anti-government demonstrations organised by the so-called People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).
Mr Abhisit said that Pheu Thai Party has betrayed the people and a proposal by caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra today to set up a Reform Council is not credible.
He said the party has to apologise to the voters who want to cast their votes for the Democrat Party.
Mr Abhisit said if the Democrats ran in the election, the party might win enough votes to form a government -- but then people would again be mobilised to rally against the Democrat Party.
He said the election should be delayed. The poll must be organised to be free and fair and the result must be acceptable to the general public.
The boycott decision came a day ahead of planned mass rallies by PDRC, led by former Democrat MP Suthep Thaugsuban.
Mr Suthep, who has vowed to root out what he called the "Thaksin regime," wanted political reform before general election.
He demanded caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra resign to open the way for a good person to be selected as the country's new prime minister and for an unelected People's Council to be set up for national reform.
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