By The Nation
With around 55 seats won in Sunday’s election, the Democrats are seen as holding the balance of power: they can choose between joining forces with a Pheu Thai-led bloc or siding with the Phalang Pracharat-led camp.
“As a party member and a representative of the 3.9 million popular votes we won, I think we need to be honest to our ideology,” Parit, who is a nephew of ex-party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, said in a Facebook Live interview with Suthichai Yoon on Friday.
Parit was referring to Abhisit’s declaration before the election that the party would neither support General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s return to power as prime minister nor corrupt politicians.
Abhisit resigned as party leader after the Democrats faced huge losses in Sunday’s poll.
Parit said the opposition role he was recommending did not mean the party would obstruct the country’s efforts to move forward; some observers have suggested attempts to form a coalition government may not bear fruit without the Democrats joining either Pheu Thai or Phalang Pracharat.
He personally said a bloc that could successfully gather a majority or more than 250 seats was entitled to be the next government, whether or not that party is the Democrats’ old rival Pheu Thai.
The Pheu Thai-led bloc now claims to have at least 255 seats and to be in the best position to form the next government.
Phalang Pracharat, meanwhile, is still seeking confirmed coalition partners because some parties like the Democrats and Bhumjaithai, who would win 52 seats, remain undecided.
Parit said the Democrats did not need to be part of a coalition government, no matter if it were led by Pheu Thai or Phalang Pracharat, but they would vote in parliament for good policies or those which tallied with their own and against any issue that contradicts with the party's policies.
“At the same time we will play a role in scrutinising the government,” he added.
Parit’s suggestion came one hour before Democrat Party executives were scheduled to meet at 10am on Friday to discuss whether to join any camp.
However, Parit said that the party should leave the decision to its 100,000-plus members around the country by conducting a primary vote.