Democrat secretary-general to step down amid party leadership change

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In a new development in Thai politics, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on revealed his intention to resign as the Democrat secretary-general when the party selects its new leader and executives on July 13. The decision on whether a younger individual will be chosen as the new leader will be left to a party committee during the planned general assembly.

Jurin Laksanawisit stepped down as leader after the May 14 election results showed the oldest party in the country winning significantly fewer House seats than anticipated. When questioned about the possibility of forming a political alliance with Pheu Thai if the Move Forward Party fails to gain sufficient support from parliament members to create a new coalition, Chalermchai stated that such an agreement would require a formal party resolution.

Upon stepping down as secretary-general, Chalermchai plans to become a general member of the party, reports Bangkok Post. He also refuted rumours that the Democrats have been in talks with Pheu Thai and agreed to join their alleged attempt to establish a new government, urging people not to believe such rumours.

Deputy Interior Minister Naris Khamnurak, a former Democrat MP for Phatthalung, also denied the existence of a secret deal, emphasising that the Democrats make all crucial decisions through a formal party resolution. He stated that no such proposal has been made or discussed. Naris added that the party must wait for the Election Commission to certify all 25 of its elected MPs, who comprise 70% of its new board members.

Regarding the party’s future restructuring, Naris said that an examination of the reasons for winning so few House seats is necessary before deciding on the extent to which younger members will be promoted into executive or leadership positions.

Last week, a party source revealed that the party’s newly elected MPs from the South believe Watanya Bunnag should be the next leader, as the 38 year old is seen as capable of modernising the country’s oldest political party.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.