By THE NATION
The challenge against incumbent party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, who has held the post for 13 years, is backed by members of the former People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), including figures such as Thavorn Seneam.
While the nomination suggests conflicts in the Democrat Party – the country’s oldest political party and recognised for being a strong institution – Warong said in a Facebook post that his supporters aimed to strengthen the party, make it great again and win the election.
“There’s no hidden agenda or any outside influence at work here,” he said, apparently in reference of allegations that the PDRC was seeking control to secure parliamentary seats in the next election.
Before Warong’s name came up as a challenger to Abhisit, news circulated that Suthep Thaugsuban’s Pacific City Club and Akanat Phromphan’s home were being used as war rooms as a decision was being made about challenging Abhisit.
Warong, however, rejected this, saying that the plan was mostly made at Thavorn’s home, which is not far from the Democrat headquarters. Both Warong and Thavorn had been active members of the now-defunct PDRC, which ousted former PM Yingluck Shinawatra’s government in 2014. Warong also led the exposing of irregularities in the Yingluck government’s rice-pledging scheme.
The Democrat Party is expected to choose a new leader by November following the promulgation of new organic laws, which require parties to set out regulations and choose new executives before launching their election campaigns.