TUESDAY, April 16, 2024

Korn leaves Chart Pattana Kla to pave way for coalition partnership

Korn leaves Chart Pattana Kla to pave way for coalition partnership

Former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij has decided to quit Chart Pattana Kla Party so it can join the Move Forward-led coalition, sources and political observers said.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Korn said he had told Chart Pattana Kla chairman Suwat Liptapanlop last week that he would step down as party leader and leave the party.

Stopping short of saying he would quit politics, Korn only said he would support the party’s policies as a layperson and go travelling with his family.

Observers, meanwhile, believe Korn quit the party under Suwat’s insistence, as the latter wanted his party to join the coalition. Korn had joined the party just late last year.

The Move Forward-led coalition has 312 MPs, and with two from Chart Pattana Kla, it would command 314 MPs.

Earlier, Move Forward hinted it would add Chart Pattana Kla to the coalition to bolster its majority, but supporters of Move Forward and Pheu Thai, the second-largest coalition partner, fought back saying Korn was one of the key leaders behind then-PM Yingluck Shinawatra’s ouster.

The uproar in social media prompted Move Forward to back down on plans to bring in Chart Pattana Kla.

However, veteran politician Suwat did not want to let go of the opportunity to join the coalition, so Korn decided to sacrifice his membership to pave the way for Suwat to hold talks.

Korn leaves Chart Pattana Kla to pave way for coalition partnership To preserve its image, Chart Pattana Kla leaked news that Korn had quit taking responsibility for the party’s failure in capturing at least 10 House seats in the May 14 election.

Chart Pattana Kla won only two seats – party-list MP Wannarat Charnnukul and Nakhon Sawan MP Prasart Tanprasert. Both MPs are original members of Chart Pattana Party and are not linked to Korn’s Kla Party, which joined Chart Pattana late last year.

Political partnership

After announcing political cooperation in a press conference with Suwat in September last year, Korn’s party joined Chart Pattana to create Chart Pattana Kla Party. Korn was named party leader on October 16.

Sources say that most Kla members who had followed Korn to join Chart Pattana will be pulling away and putting their old party back together. Among them is Korn’s deputy Worawut Oonjai.

However, Korn’s second deputy, Atthawit Suwanphakdee, who was also elected as Chart Pattana Kla’s secretary-general, has decided to stick with Suwat, who will rename his back to Chart Pattana.

Another prominent member leaving to join Kla Party is Woranai Wanitchaka, former leader of Ruam Thai United Party, sources said.

Sources close to Korn said that though he has “had enough of politics and wants to leave”, he has been advised to not make any clear announcements of his future yet.

Korn leaves Chart Pattana Kla to pave way for coalition partnership Korn’s political journey

The former finance minister entered politics at the invitation of his friend, former PM and ex-Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva. The two politicians had both studied together at St John’s College, University of Oxford.

Korn contested an election for the first time under Democrat Party’s banner in 2005 for Bangkok’s Constituency 7 and won. He was elected four more times in 2007, 2011 and 2019.

He was also entrusted to chair the House committee on finance and financial institutions twice and was later named deputy Democrat leader.

He became finance minister under Abhisit’s government in 2008 and helped pull Thailand out of the “Hamburger Crisis”. The crisis was sparked in 2007 after the collapse of the United States housing market.

Korn leaves Chart Pattana Kla to pave way for coalition partnership Under Korn’s leadership, Thailand became the second country in the world to survive the crisis in late 2010.

His “Strengthening Thailand” policy was successful in helping vulnerable groups survive the crisis.

Korn’s success as finance minister also won him honours as the world’s most outstanding finance minister in 2010 from The Banker, a leading publication in England.

Korn was also voted Asia’s top finance minister of the year on January 7, 2010.

Korn leaves Chart Pattana Kla to pave way for coalition partnership Turning point

Korn’s political career took a turning point when Abhisit led the Democrats to an election defeat in 2019.

Abhisit stepped down as party leader, and Korn contested for his post with a pledge of support from Abhisit’s team.

However, he lost the bid to Jurin Laksanawisit, who was chosen to block the way for Pirapan Salirathavibhaga. Pirapan eventually joined outgoing PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s United Thai Nation Party.

In 2020, Korn quit Democrat Party to form Kla Party with Atthawit. The two politicians built Kla for two years before deciding to join Chart Pattana once the electoral system was changed from one ballot to two ballots, which did not bode well for small parties.

Korn’s political career has clearly hit another turning point, though it is not yet clear which path it will take.