Thai democrats threaten to boycott poll

Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

The Democrat Party will not contest the next election if a reconciliation proposal to be unveiled by its leader Abhisit Vejjajiva today is rejected by the parties involved in the ongoing political conflict, according to the party's spokesman.

Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said yesterday that with the political conflict remaining unsolved and the country still in a state of deadlock, there was no point in the Democrats taking part in the election. "We will still be in the same spot, and we can't move forward because the conflict still exists. There will be disorder. The Pheu Thai Party will bring about a bloody election. For what will the Democrat Party have taken part?" he said.

The Democrat spokesman asked the ruling Pheu Thai Party and caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to make it clear how they would make sacrifices for the country's benefit. He criticised the premier for suggesting that Abhisit should not have set any conditions in regard to his reconciliation proposal.

The Democrat leader on Thursday had said that he would take a political break if his proposal aimed at finding a political solution were accepted by all the parties involved. Abhisit said this was to prove that he would not benefit from his own proposal.

Chavanond yesterday expressed suspicion that Yingluck might be attempting to protect the interests of herself, her family and her party.

He said turning down Abhisit's proposal would mean the politicians involved were failing to sacrifice their own benefit for the country's interest. "We will see who are politicians, and who are the election experts," he added.

The next election has been tentatively scheduled for July 20. The previous voting on February 2 was declared void by the Constitutional Court, as it was not held on the same day in the entire country, which was against the Constitution.

The Democrats had boycotted the February poll on the grounds that it was being held at a time when conflict still existed.

Meanwhile, Abhisit has met a number of top politicians and senior bureaucrats to gather their ideas as to how the Kingdom could be brought out of its destructive political crisis.

He has called a press conference at the Sukosol Hotel this morning to unveil details of his proposal.

The Democrat leader yesterday said the government was ignoring a way out of the crisis by insisting on going ahead with the July 20 poll.

Pheu Thai has belittled Abhisit's offer to take a political break if his proposal is accepted.

Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said yesterday that Abhisit had attached a condition to his pledge to take a political break simply to boost his image, although the former PM was aware he would have a qualification problem that would prevent him from becoming an election candidate.

He said Abhisit's retroactive dismissal as an Army personnel member would disqualify him from contesting an election.

Pheu Thai's former defence minister Sukampol Suwannathat approved the retroactive dismissal of Abhisit for allegedly using a falsified military draft document to apply for the post of lecturer at the Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, an allegation rejected by the Democrat leader.

Prompong also urged the Election Commission to issue no later than May 6 a Royal Decree calling the next election, and not by May 8 as has been planned by the agency.

Meanwhile, red-shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan yesterday cancelled a gathering of government supporters in Nakhon Pathom, which had been scheduled to take place on Monday. He has called a mass rally of the red shirts on May 14, the same day that the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee plans to hold its own mass gathering.