IF it comes to it, veteran Thai politician Sudarat Keyuraphan (pic) would rather her political party stand in the opposition camp than join a coalition government with coup-makers.
“Our position is quite clear. We are pro-democracy, and that can take many shades. But for our party, it is democracy for the people,” the 61-year-old leader of the Thai Sang Thai party said.
And should the possible post-election government involve parties whose leaders have links to past military coups, she has no qualms sitting out that coalition rather than compromise.
As the May 14 general election in Thailand nears, battle lines have been drawn between the incumbent conservative parties with ties to coup-makers, and the anti-coup parties, most notably the Pheu Thai party that is backed by former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
“Our party absolutely does not support the coups d’etat. Khun Prayut, Khun Prawit and whoever else supported the last coup d’etat, we do not support,” said Sudarat, singling out incumbent Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.
Prayut became prime minister after leading a military coup in 2014 that toppled the Pheu Thai-led government.
Prawit, a close ally of Prayut, was also part of the post-coup government.
Both are former army chiefs.
The Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), now led by Prawit, had supported Prayut’s successful bid for PM in the 2019 election.
But the alliance splintered, and earlier this year Prayut became a PM candidate of the Ruam Thai Sang Chart, also known as the United Thai Nation (UTN) party.
For nearly two decades, Thailand’s political scene has been largely divided between two camps: those supporting the military and conservative establishment on one side, and forces opposing military intervention on the other, including supporters of Thaksin, who was removed from office by a military coup in 2006.
Sudarat, who previously played key roles in various Thaksin-linked political parties, wants to provide a third option.
“We declare we are the exit (strategy) for Thai politics. We want the Thai people to win,” she said, adding that while both camps have trumped each other at different moments in history, “the Thai people always lose”.
Sudarat co-founded the Thai Rak Thai party with Thaksin in 1998. — The Straits Times/ANN
Source : The Star