Asia Politics Thailand

Democrats Cast Wide Net for Rural Votes, Pheu Thai Promises Better Healthcare

The Democrat Party will contest all 500 seats in the House of Representatives in the upcoming election, party leader Jurin Laksanawisit told a general meeting of party members on Thursday (Feb 23) night.

He also delivered a pep talk and summed up the party’s campaign pledges to attract rural voters. These include a guaranteed minimum income for farmers, expediting the issuing of land titles for farmers, free milk for school students, and two million baht in funding for every “village bank”.

The party will also solve problems in the commercial fishing industry without weakening enforcement of measures against illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, said Jurin, who is the ruling coalition’s commerce minister and a deputy premier.

The party’s popularity is gradually improving in the run-up to the general election, he said, pointing to the victories of party candidates in local elections, including for Bangkok’s city council last year.

“The Democrat Party is going upwards, not downwards. We are not affected by any negative force,” Jurin said.

Democrats serving in the current government have achieved positive results that will improve on the party’s past performance, he added.

The Democrats aim to become part of the next coalition government, Jurin said. The party’s slogan is “creating money, developing people, building the nation”.

The country’s largest opposition party, Pheu Thai, is laser focused on a single issue – healthcare.

On Friday it released a video clip stressing its commitment to improve the universal healthcare scheme implemented under party patriarch Thaksin Shinawatra’s first government in November 2002.

The party will improve the universal healthcare scheme if it returns to power, it said. Benefits will be expanded to allow patients to choose their hospital, receive blood checks at clinics near their homes, get free vaccinations, make medical appointments online, and receive telemedicine.

The party will upgrade the healthcare system by adopting new medical technologies, said Thaksin’s daughter Paetongtarn. She is the party’s likely candidate for premier.

Universal healthcare will be perfected if Pheu Thai is elected, said Dr Surapong Suebwonglee, an architect of Thaksin’s transformative healthcare initiative.

Pheu Thai will upgrade the entire IT system of the public health system to create a database for all Thai citizens, Surapong added.

Source : The Star