A senior Thai Democrat has warned that his party must learn hard political lessons from the success of Thaksin Shinawatra if they are to have any electoral chance against the prime minister. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the deputy secretary-general of the Democrat Party, acknowledged extensive political failings across the organisation, which risked becoming a 'quaint little party'. 'Rightly or wrongly, Mr Thaksin has mastered the realities of Thai politics and we have struggled to compete,' Mr Sukhumbhand said. 'We have to face those facts and we have to undergo rapid and far-reaching changes.' He said the Democrats may have to adopt some of Mr Thaksin's methods if they eventually won power. Mr Sukhumbhand spoke on the side of a regional security conference in Kuala Lumpur, after an announcement in Bangkok that a new poll would be held on October 15. The Democrats boycotted a snap election on April 2 - a poll won by Mr Thaksin despite widening protests against his five-year rule. Constitutional courts last month declared the April 2 result invalid, apparently backing Democrat claims that the campaign period was too short and polling booths badly organised. The Democrats have vowed to contest the fresh vote, saying their earlier boycott had ensured they could no longer be unfairly marginalised. Mr Sukhumbhand said that the opposition could not rely on continued anger over the former tycoon's dictatorial style or previous business dealings. The Democrats were now plotting a new range of policies to compete against Mr Thaksin's drive into rural Thailand, where the bulk of Thai voters live. Some plans would seek to amend and improve some of Mr Thaksin's highly controversial schemes, such as his popular village loans and cheap health care.