Thai 'Yellow Shirts' form new party

Leaders of anti-Thaksin protest movement apply to form a political party in Thailand.

    The PAD has led protests against former PM Thaksin Shinawatra and his associates [GALLO/GETTY]

    "The election commission can legally take 30 days to approve our petition, but in our case I hope it will be quicker and could just be one week," Suriyasai Katasila, the acting party secretary general, told AFP news agency.

    Formed in late 2005, the PAD emerged from a loose coalition of opponents to Thaksin Shinawatra, the then prime minister.

    The group adopted yellow as their trademark - a colour traditionally associated with the monarchy, in what they say is a show of allegiance to Thailand's king.

    In 2006, weeks of anti-Thaksin rallies organised by the PAD culminated in a bloodless coup that forced Thaksin from power.

    The group largely disappeared from the scene during the subsequent period of military rule, but was re-formed when elections in late 2007 led to Thaksin's allies returning to power.

    The PAD's campaign of street protests escalated to a four-month siege of government offices and finally a blockade of Bangkok's two airports that lasted for more than a week, crippling the country's vital tourism industry.

    'Clean politics'

    Leaders of the party say they want to create a new political culture in Thailand [GALLO/GETTY]
    The PAD stood down again after Thaksin's allies lost power in December 2008, and Abhisit Vejjajiva was appointed Thailand's third prime minister.

    Now the leaders of the new political party says they have changed their colours to a mix of yellow and green - yellow to signify support for the king and green to stand for "clean politics".

    The party has the potential to take votes from members of Abhisit's coalition, ahead of elections that could be held by next year.

    Sondhi Limthongkul, the founder of the PAD who was wounded in an assassination attempt in April, is expected to be nominated as the party's leader.

    But despite their mutual opposition towards Thaksin, the new party said it will not join the Abhisit's coalition because they want to distance themselves from Thai political culture.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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