Democrats seek direct tie to public after poll boycott
Party looks for ways to keep in touch with people, expects turbulence ahead
The Democrat Party will keep in touch with constituents by a series of public forums, having boycotted the recent election, its chief adviser Chuan Leekpai said yesterday.
"The Democrats will not be involved with the new House of Representatives. We expect to use non-parliamentary venues to communicate with the people," he said.
Chuan said he fully supported the boycott, adding that party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva had made the right decision not to help launder the misrule of Thai Rak Thai Party leader Thaksin Shinawatra.
"Without any House seat, the Democrats can still make their stand known on pertinent matters by speaking directly to the people instead of making speeches on the House floor," he said.
He said his party would not need the privilege of parliamentary immunity because the facts were the best legal shield against any attack on the party by the government.
Commenting on the outcome of the election, he said local politics would proceed through an uncharted and "strange" course because of complete parliamentary domination by the ruling party.
"Political tensions will probably escalate as the ruling party is trying to fill 500 House seats by dubious means," Chuan said.
He said he expected turbulence for the foreseeable future because those involved had yet to address the damage that had been done by Thaksin.
Although Thaksin agreed not to accept the post of prime minister in the new government, problems stemming from his misrule remain, he said.
For example, many independent organisations are under Thaksin's influence and no office-holders have resigned to pave the way for rehabilitation, he added.
With or without Thaksin, a faulty system lacking in checks and balances has not yet been put to rights, he said.
In the case of the National Counter Corruption Commission, many candidates for the job should have withdrawn from the nomination process because they know they have government backing, rendering them ineffective as graft-busters, he said.
In another development, Democrat deputy leader Alongkorn Pollabutr took a group of selected reporters to inspect the Beverly Hill housing estate on Chaeng Wattana Road.
Alongkorn said Thaksin's sister Yaowapha Wongsawat had allegedly exerted political influence to allow her daughter to acquire the estate at a cut-rate price.
The estate had a market value of Bt3 billion, he said, but Yaowapha allegedly helped her daughter Shinnisha Wongsawat to buy it for Bt950 million.
He said he would petition the NCCC to look into the matter in the next 10 days.
He also said he would alert the Anti Money Laundering Office and the Office of the Auditor-General to investigate whether Yaowapha had become unusually wealthy.