Sansern Samalapa, Democrat Party deputy leader and the head of youth affairs, announced Tuesday June 18 that the party’s youth wing, New Dem, no longer exists.
Parit Wacharasindhu, the leader of New Dem, during the election campaign in March 2019. Source: Parit's fanpage
Though some Democrat Party members resigned after the party elected to joined the pro-junta governing coalition, most members of New Dem have said they will continue working with the party through the earlier project, Young Democrat.
So far, at least 6 members of New Dem have resigned in protest, including Parit Wacharasindhu, Thanat Thanakitamnuay, Nattika Loweera, and Parit Ratanakul Serirengrit. Kasit Piromya, an ex-foreign minister and a veteran party member, also resigned and issued an open letter in protest of the party’s siding with the authoritarian government. Former party leader and former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva resigned as an MP for similar reasons, but maintained his membership with the Democrat Party.
Founded in November 2018, New Dem aimed to provide a platform for young people to shape policy both inside and outside the party. Parit Wacharasindhu, the nephew of Abhisit Vejjajiva, said at the initiative’s opening that the group was not only a campaign strategy, but a space for a new generation to modernize the Democrat Party. Parit claimed New Dem’s membership was open to everyone, not only the descendants of powerful families.
Though New Dem nominated 30 members to run for MP seats, only two members won: Chaichana Detdecho in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, and Sunatcha Losathaphonphiphit in Trang. Both are decedents of Democrat Party politicians influential in their constituencies.