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Monday, May 20, 2024

Democrat upheaval: Tracing eight decades of ups and downs for Thailand’s oldest party

Democrat Party’s successes include winning a House majority, sweeping all MP seats in Bangkok, and leading several coalition governments. But the party – established on April 6, 1946 – has also experienced dark days, including a military coup that ousted its government, two election wipe-outs in the capital, and severe infighting that has led to mass defections of key figures.

During a history spanning nine decades, the Democrats have experienced two serious rifts in which “internal bleeding” threatened the party’s existence. Observers say the latest division, coming at a time when the Democrats’ popularity with voters has crashed to a new low, could make or break the party.

Birth of ‘January 10 Group’

The first destructive split occurred in January 1987 after the general meeting to select a new Democrat leader, secretary-general and other executive posts. A…

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