Democrat MPs resign en masse

MPs from the opposition Democrat Party resigned en masse on Sunday in what was seen as the party's last-ditch effort to force Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to dissolve the House of Representatives and transfer administrative power to protesters.

The decision came a day before the People's Democratic Reform Committee's (PDRC) nationwide march is supposed to start. Today is its "final battle" to topple the government and get rid of the so-called "Thaksin regime".

Speaking at a press conference, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the party decided it could no longer wait for the government to take responsibility for what it had done.

Mr Abhisit said the Pheu Thai MPs never took responsibility for passing the controversial blanket amnesty bill and even defied the Constitution Court's ruling on the charter amendment involving the make-up of the Senate.

He said that the mass resignation of his party's 153 MPs was to "reaffirm" the lack of legitimacy of the House which betrayed the public trust.

The resignation of the party MPs, which took immediate effect, was to maintain high standards, he said.

"When trust is lost ... the constitution is violated, parliament must take responsibility. Parliament should not be taken hostage to let the government stay in power," he said.

He said the party members and ex-MPs would join in today's protest as ordinary people.

He insisted the party would not accept political positions if they were not in line with the constitution and parliamentary system.

In response, executives of the govenrment coalition parties _ Pheu Thai, Chartthaipattana, Chart Pattana Party and Palang Chon _ met yesterday evening to discuss the Democrats' move.

They resolved that the coalition parties would observe Ms Yingluck's stance yesterday and insisted the political impasse must be dealt with on the basis of the law.

They also asked the anti-government protesters who are expected to converge around Government House today to come unarmed.

Ms Yingluck yesterday repeatedly insisted she won't resign or dissolve the House unless a new election is called in line with the constitution.

Academics regard the Democrats' move as a last-ditch attempt to oust the government.

Political scientist Nakharin Mektrairat said the Democrat Party's move would make House dissolution inevitable.

He said the mass resignations would cost the House of Representatives its legitimacy.

Wanwichit Boonprong, a political science academic of Rangsit University, said the move seems to be a final attempt by the party to force the government and the prime minister to dissolve the House and leave power.

The party believed the resignations would lead to a government shutdown.

However, Mr Wanwichit believed the government might be able to sustain itself for some time, at least until early next year, because the Bhumjaithai Party will still be the opposition in parliament and some factions in Bhumjaithai support the government.

In the best case scenario, the government might survive until a referendum on Mr Suthep's proposed people's council is concluded, if it is conducted.

The political scientist described the Democrats' move as an attempt to justify the protest movements, and argue that this parliament and government have lacked legitimacy.

Wutthisak Larpcharoensap, rector of Ramkhamhaeng University, said the Democrats' resignations can further weaken the legitimacy of the government and the House.

Mr Suthep last night promised the demonstrators they would not go home empty-handed after today's march.

Mr Suthep said the protesters should pack for an extended stay as they would not leave until it ends.

"Bangkok will be paralysed. Be prepared to spend the night on the street. We won't go home until it ends," he said.

Mr Suthep said he will declare the people's powers on behalf of the anti-government protesters.

Meanwhile, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha assured the army would not stage a coup.

"I would like everyone to be patient and find a peaceful way out. A coup would only lead to further problems. How can the country stand in society's eyes if a coup happens? Everyone is patriotic but they need to get together," Gen Prayuth said.

Share your thoughts

Discussion 1 : 10/12/2013 at 11:49 AM
The superintendant of DSI filed a law suit aganist the demecratic party. The demecratic Party in turn resigned to avoid being disbarred from politics for 5 years, that's all. Very cleaver I might say!
Discussion 2 : 09/12/2013 at 02:51 PM
Question: What about PT wins the election again? Democrats will go on street again?
Discussion 3 : 09/12/2013 at 02:45 PM
With all due respect, the Democrats seems rather delusional. They think they can go to the street and demand power whenever they see fit? The Constitution that was ratified calls for elections does it not?
Discussion 4 : 09/12/2013 at 02:44 PM
brilliant move by the democrats..
Discussion 5 : 09/12/2013 at 02:29 PM
is it possible BP announced how many people they estimated today in the streets . only speaking about unclear "thousand of people" but is it nearly 100000 or nearly 500000 or more ? 9 marches with thousands people must represent hundreds thousand people ..did they approch the famous million promised since beginning of the protest ?
Discussion 6 : 09/12/2013 at 01:58 PM
I don't have a good feeling about this. Is Thailand falling to undemocratic black hole again? This is not good for the economy, inbound investment - some manufacturers now seriously planning to exit Thailand - or Thailand's reputation, or ordinary person, or anyone - though I dont think this lot cares. Korn should take lead in Democrat party and bring some sense to it and prevent further insanity. AV-Suthep-Communist/Fascist people's council faction will bring country to its knees. Don't let that happen. Break up the party if that is needed - perhaps the People would vote for you if you offered new, sane agenda. As in democracy.
Discussion 7 : 09/12/2013 at 01:24 PM
The DEMs still hold elected government positions in Bangkok, so that is a moot point, even if it was a real law.
Discussion 8 : 09/12/2013 at 01:20 PM
to run on an anti-corruption platform in this country is impossible - you would loose millions of voters who live comfortably on what goes into their pockets "under the table"
Discussion 9 : 09/12/2013 at 12:40 PM
This is 2006 all over again. Street protests of few thousand eventually over rule the legitimate vote of millions of Thais and the House is dissolved. New elections are planned and guess what will happen? The democrats will boycott them and create a constitutional crises, again. Hoping they can ride into power on the back of the Army again.
Discussion 10 : 09/12/2013 at 12:31 PM
What a joke! Some countries just aren't ready for democracy, and the bigger shame is those that are, just aren't given it. At least not a true democracy because that is a scary though for politicians the world over.
Discussion 11 : 09/12/2013 at 12:28 PM
let the lady do her job, get out of the way you shallow water swimmers, and let the deep sea divers get too work!
Discussion 12 : 09/12/2013 at 11:25 AM
I am with the poster on this. Many of us, even in Isaan dislike Pheu Thai, but Abbhist has really not done good job in leading Democrats to win an election. This all resigning thing is a joke
Discussion 13 : 09/12/2013 at 10:38 AM
I'm not sure why you're still stuck on thinking that the protest is about the Democrats. Unless you're willing to see that the protest is about people's dissatisfaction with the government and Phue Thai MPs, you'll continue to confuse the issue.
Discussion 14 : 09/12/2013 at 10:24 AM
You mean they keep losing rigged elections.
Discussion 15 : 09/12/2013 at 10:02 AM
Power is now returned to the people. Next, what if DEM refuses to stand for election and chose for People Council instead? Does this violate the right of Thai people? interesting!
Discussion 16 : 09/12/2013 at 09:48 AM
I still don't get it. When will the Dem's understand the inconvenient truth that that they keep losing elections? Maybe it's time for a little soul searching, and, perish the thought, maybe a change of leadership! Or, maybe just easier to wait for a coup and get 'installed', saves all that messy election stuff, electors keep getting it wrong!
Discussion 17 : 09/12/2013 at 09:42 AM
The Democrat bus derailed with all on board. A real shame.
Discussion 18 : 09/12/2013 at 09:39 AM
I hope when there is a next general election the voters remember what a shambles Suthep and the Dems have made of Thailand, PT may be bad but the opposition instead of behaving like an effective opposition have simply set out to destroy the entire edifice of government.
Discussion 19 : 09/12/2013 at 09:38 AM
If the democrates not want to take their seats in parliament, it is pointless to vote for them. Time for a new party with the main objectives: Stop corruption at every level. Good social security laws. Good plans for infrastructure and economic development. Most important:Take candidates with decent behaviour. Nobody should be involved in corruption cases before. Big chance this party wins next elections. Am i dreaming?
Discussion 20 : 09/12/2013 at 09:37 AM
bkk-farang - AV administration spent their entire reign hounding Thaksin but without success. They even lied that they have international arrest warrant. Thaksin travels freely to many countries he likes to visit and no country is willing to cooperate in arresting him. You cannot simply go into a country and arrest him even if you managed to meet him in person. The world accepted the fact that he is politically persecuted and do not want to entangle with Thai politics.
Discussion 21 : 09/12/2013 at 07:25 AM
Interesting that Chuan Leekpai and Korn would not participate. Even they know this is not how responsible politicians do things....
Discussion 22 : 09/12/2013 at 07:23 AM
We can debate till the cows come home about whether what Khun Suthep or the Democrat MPs have done is right. But one thing is for certain...The protest wouldn't have had this much support from the people if the government and the Pheu Thai MPs had conducted themselves properly and in the best interest of the country. The supporters of Thaksin on this board can say whatever they want. It doesn't matter any more.
Discussion 23 : 09/12/2013 at 07:15 AM
“executives of the government coalition parties […] insisted the political impasse must be dealt with on the basis of the law.” Good idea! How about catching the infamous fugitive criminal and putting him behind bars where he belongs? That would be a good start to show Thai citizens and the world that they want to work “on the basis of the law”.
Discussion 24 : 09/12/2013 at 07:04 AM
“We cannot beat them,” said Theptai Seanapong, one of the members of Parliament who resigned on Sunday. “It doesn’t matter if we raise our hands and feet in parliamentary votes, we will never win.”
Discussion 25 : 09/12/2013 at 07:03 AM
Dissolving the house is better but must with condition DEM ensure they will participate in the election for country sake.
Discussion 26 : 09/12/2013 at 07:02 AM
Nui BJT has already said as soon as there is an election call they will join the PTP and dump the BJT and the only reason they are in the opposition is because of electoral rules not allowing them to change parties.
Discussion 27 : 09/12/2013 at 06:59 AM
Unfortunately PT MP's don't represent the people either.
Discussion 28 : 09/12/2013 at 06:58 AM
In other democratic countries mass resignation means new elections only in the areas where there are no sitting MP! Why does Thailnad not do this? The Dems will not win the other seats,so why bother?
Discussion 29 : 09/12/2013 at 06:56 AM
This needs to be considered carefully,the Dems are saying if you don't do it our way were out,foreign countries are watching,if another coup does result in the I pity Thailand's future,remember other countries are viewed as safer and less corrupt
Discussion 30 : 09/12/2013 at 06:52 AM
And why did she need to resign? Because Suthep wants power? Her Political party won the election,Thais need to learn about patience and learn that when they lose they have to do better when they have the next election.
Discussion 31 : 09/12/2013 at 06:47 AM
The last time they did this there was a coup. I believe that is what their aims are again, very unfortunately that they decided to play politics rather than to represent their constituents in parliament and to continue acting as a strong opposition. Unless Suthep accepts dissolving the parliament and holding new elections, bi-elections should be called and new representatives chosen -- and maybe this new party will eventually displace the Democrats.... Hopefully they will be able to build a larger base of support and make this feudal democracy into a true democracy.
Discussion 32 : 09/12/2013 at 06:11 AM
Resigned MPs are no more representing the people. Their voices carry no significant weight in the society.
Discussion 33 : 09/12/2013 at 05:00 AM
Ms. Yingluck can resign any time and take responsibility for this mess, without dissolving the house . But she did not resign, she is clinging to power. Bhumjaithai should think carefully,if they want to play a part ( coalition ) in future politics. Maybe Newin or Anuthin should ask the 34 MP to resign too. If the coalition parties want to stay on a sinking ship,it is up to them. MP of all parties must take responsibility, if the constitution is violated by parliament. Resignation is the right decision.
Discussion 34 : 09/12/2013 at 03:33 AM
In other Democratic countries it would make the party desolve if it did not hold one or more seats in the goverment.

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