Somkiat Pongpaiboon (สมเกียรติ พงษ์ไพบูลย์) was a Professor at Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University, Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand. Now, He became a member of the Thai House of Representatives in 2007 from Democrat Party and a leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, and the co-founder of the Mass Party. Somkiat is an advocate for the poor and a major critic on Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Activism and key works
Somkiat claims to have been investigated three times for organizing protests for poor farmers against government officials and politicians. In one interview he mentioned
- "In one investigation, they told me that I was supposed to spend my time in school rather than organizing a rally against the government. I spoke right back 'in their faces' that I have never seen any professors who spend their teaching time hanging out with politicians being investigated.
Somkiat claims to have written many academic papers and provided many academic researches regarding social development and strategy to counter poverty. He is also a regular contributor to many newspapers and magazines.
The People's Alliance for Democracy
In February 2006, Professor Somkiat Pongpaiboon was selected to be one of the five leaders of People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD). Somkiat represented the Thai academic community.
Somkiat Pongpaiboon is said to be a charismatic public speaker.
The Mass Party
In May 2006, Somkiat and other PAD leaders established the Mass Party. Somkiat claimed that "Our objective is to campaign against Thaksinomics." The party unconventionally planned not to field MP candidates for the first 5 years, with Somkiat claiming that "If we field MP candidates, we will be trapped in vicious circles of money politics." Other party co-founders included by former Palang Dharma Party leader Chaiwat Sinsuwong and the Campaign for Popular Democracy's Pipop Thongchai.
- The Nation, "New parties sprouting already", 17 May 2006
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