Neutral Democratic Party
The Neutral Democratic Party (Phak Matchima Thippathai พรรคมัชฌิมาธิปไตย) was a Thai political party founded in 2006 by Somsak Thepsuthin, a former Thai Rak Thai party Cabinet Minister. The party had a similar populist line to the Thai Rak Thai and was expected to secure votes from Thai Rak Thai supporters.
On October 15, 2007, Prachai Liewpairat, formerly Royalist People's Party Secretary-general and financier, was elected as the party's leader, and Anongwan Thepsuthin, Somsak's wife, was elected as the party's secretary-general. This move has raised many eyebrows in Thailand's political landscape. The birth of a new party, with a woman in charge of the second most important position, had caused a stir. For some advocates of women's rights, Thailand's long struggle to break male dominance in politics was thought to have partly been enlivened. As they note, in the second Thaksin government of 2005, only one of the 36 cabinet ministers and one governor out of 76 were women, while only 10 percent of the members of Parliament and Senate were women.
The Neutral Democratic Party participated in the 2007 general election and won 5.36% of the vote (7 of 480 seats), coming in sixth. In January 2008, the Neutral Democratic Party joined the winning party of the election, PPP and five other parties to form a coalition.
After the party's disappointing election result in the 2007 Election, the party leader, Prachai Liewpairat resigned. On 25 February 2008, party members gathered together for the party annual meeting in Sukhothai province, hometown of Somsak Thepsuthin. They elected the new leader, secretary-general, deputy leaders, spokesperson and the new executive board. Former secretary general and the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Anongwan Thepsuthin became the new leader and Chai-Nat province MP Porntiwa Nakasai became the new secretary general. This the party the first party in Thailand to have women as both the leader and secretary general.
Along with the coalition members People Power Party (PPP) and Chart Thai, the Neutral Democratic Party was dissolved by the Constitutional Court on December 2, 2008, with party executives banned from politics for five years. The non-executive MPs of the parties were given 60 days to reorganize under new parties. The non-executive MPs from the Neutral Democratic Party defected to the Bhumjaithai Party. They and the former members of the Friends of Newin Group, a faction of the PPP, decided to form a coalition government led by Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democrat Party.
- Leader: Anongwan Thepsuthin
- Secretary General: Porntiwa Nakasai
- Spokesperson: Suphapornpong Chuanboon
- Global Insight, Cabinet Lifts Ban on Political Activity in Thailand, n.d.
- Bangkok Post, Stirring up Politics, 14 October 2007
- Thailand's Supreme Court clears way for PPP to form coalition gov't, Xinhua, 2008-01-19, accessed on 2008-01-19
- Bangkok Post, Allies to stick with PPP, 2 December 2008
- AFP, Thai court dissolves ruling party, 2 December 2008