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  • Bangkok by-Elections | May 2022

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Pheu-Thai-Party.jpg Views:	7 Size:	156.5 KB ID:	3026

    Leader of Pheu Thai Party calls on PM to dissolve parliament, hold snap election

    After a solid win for the Pheu Thai Party in Sunday’s (January 30.2022) Bangkok by-elections, the party’s leader has called on the Thai PM to dissolve parliament and hold a snap election. Chonlanan Srikaew has welcomed the win and said PM Prayut Chan-o-cha should now dissolve parliament so that fresh elections can be held. Speaking yesterday, he said the government’s failure to ease the ongoing financial burden of Thai people led to by-election defeat for the ruling Palang Pracharat Party.

    According to a Thai PBS World report, he says the best course of action available to the PM now is to dissolve parliament, adding that doing so is nothing to be ashamed of. Chonlanan says the by-election result is proof that the Thai people have had enough and now want political change and full democracy. He was already vowed that the Pheu Thai Party will work harder to ensure a landslide victory in the next general election, after which it will form a new government and get to work for the people.

    In Sunday’s by-election, the Pheu Thai Party was confirmed victorious after votes from 265 polling units, out of a total of 280, had been counted. This amounted to nearly 95% of the votes, with Pheu Thai’s candidate, Surachart Thienthong, gaining a solid victory over Move Forward’s Karoonpon Tiensuwan, with 27,284 votes to 19,081.
    Last edited by Videoking; 02-01-2022, 04:38 PM.

  • #2
    Calls for investigation into Bangkok governor candidate’s “unusual wealth”
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    The candidate running for Bangkok governor, who drew attention when he claimed to have studied engineering under Albert Einstein’s grandson, is now in the spotlight for his “unusual wealth,” according to Thai media reports. An anonymous person leaked information showing that the candidate’s assets increased to 245 million baht within one year.

    The House Anti-Corruption and Misconduct Committee, led by Seripisut Temiyavej, shared that an anonymous person asked the committee to investigate the assets of the candidate from Democrat Party, Suchatvee Suwansawat, starting with the time when he was the rector at King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang. Thai media shared that this might be the reaction after the Office of the National Anti-corruption Commission reported that his assets were over 342 million baht at the end of January.

    Yesterday, Suchatvee joined the television programme and shared that the assets increased during the three years he worked as the rector came after he married his wife. His wife’s assets were included when he submitted information to the NACC, he said.


    • #3
      Bangkok governor may quit next week as he prepares to seek a second term

      The governor of Bangkok may soon step down as he prepares to run for a second term. According to a Bangkok Post source, Aswin Kwanmuang is likely to resign as early as next week as his team work on his re-election campaign. It’s understood Aswin and his advisers met earlier this week to complete the incumbent’s registration. Bangkok residents go to the polls on May 22.2022

      Aswin is expected to run as an independent candidate but has said very little about this chances of being re-elected or even if he will run. If he does decide to seek a second term, he’s expected to resign around March 24 or 25. He is reported to have appointed a panel to check his policies are being implemented.

      The Bangkok Post reports that his campaign team have divided up canvassing into relevant constituencies, with Aswin supporters, the Rak Krunthep (Love Bangkok) group, producing campaign posters. Several group members plan to run in the Bangkok city council elections, also taking place on May 22, and the group has been offering free vaccinations and dredging waterways in various districts across the capital.

      Meanwhile, Pheu Thai MP for Bangkok, Jirayu Huangsap, and several members of his party are calling for an investigation into Aswin’s tenure, accusing him of an abuse of power for political gain.


      • #4
        Candidates for governor register in Bangkok

        Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn runs for Bangkok Governor - Move Foward Party

        Candidates for Bangkok started registering at City Hall 2 yesterday. Registration will last until April 4, and polling will be on May 22. The candidate to arrive earliest was an independent candidate who showed up at City Hall at 6am. Other candidates represented several different parties including Thai Sang Thai, the Democrat Party, and Move Forward Party.

        The independent candidate was Chadchat Sittipunt. Chadchat said he won’t put up campaign posters because he wants people support him based on his character. He arrived at City Hall on his bicycle because he wants Bangkok to be a green city. Chadchat said, however, that Bangkok’s city roads made the ride over difficult.

        The Thai Sang Thai candidate, Sita Divari, vows to improve Bangkok’s flood drainage system and traffic management if he wins. The Democrat Party Candidate, Suchatvee Suwansawat, promises to introduce wi-fi coverage throughout the capital.

        The Move Forward candidate is Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn. Wiroj is campaigning to remove fences around Sanam Luang a public square and park in Bangkok, to give the public more access to it. The park has a long history, with its auspicious location and role in the life of Thailand’s royal family and ceremonies, as well as a location for protests. It was the site of the 1976 ‘Thammarat Massacre’ where government and police cracked down on ‘leftist’ protesters.

        Wiroj says the square should become another green space accessible to locals. He visited Sanam Luang last week as part of a campaign to “reclaim Sanam Luang”. Wiroj said there is already CCTV at Sanam Luang deterring people from committing crimes, and therefore fences aren’t necessary.


        • #5
          Chadchart Sittipunt | Independent candidate leads Bangkok’s race for a new Governor

          Chadchart Sittipunt

          An independent candidate is leading the record pack of 31 running in the forthcoming election for Bangkok’s Governor. In Bangkok’s first Governor election in 9 years, Chadchart Sittipunt is favoured by 38.8% of 1,362 eligible voters polled in the Bangkok area. The poll was conducted from April 5-7.

          The runner up at the moment is yet another independent candidate, Aswin Kwanmuang, the current elected Governor who stood down to take part in the new election, with 10.1% of respondents saying they prefer him. Aswin Kwanmuang says he would continue his work as Bangkok’s governor. He was originally elected to the post in 2016.

          The Bangkok Governor would preside over the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

          In third place, a Democrat Party candidate is favoured by 6.8% of respondents, and a Move Forward Party candidate by 6%. All other candidates got smaller percentages of respondents who favoured them. 26.6% of respondents are still undecided about which candidate they prefer, while 2.9% say they would tick “no vote”. 2% even say they won’t go to the polls.

          Bangkok’s upcoming election for a new Governorwill be held on May 22.

          Meanwhile, in an opinion poll last month on who Thais want as their next prime minister, slightly more respondents favoured Move Foward Party candidate Pita Limjaroenrat over current PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. 13.4% of respondents preferred 41 year old Pita, while 12.7% preferred Prayut. This was out of a poll surveying 2,020 Thais aged 18 and over of education levels and occupations throughout the country.

          This means that Pita is now the country’s most preferred candidate to be the next PM, followed by Prayut, then Paethongtan Shinawatra of the Pheu Thai Party (daughter of fugitive PM Thaksin Shinawatra), and then Khunying Sudarat, leader of the Thai Srang Thai Party. However, the largest percentage of Thais, 27.6%, said they were “yet to see anybody suitable for the post of Thai PM”.

          The next general election will be held sometime in early 2023.


          • #6
            First rape victim speaks out against Democrat Deputy Leader

            Anna Vidhyaphum, who is seeking a seat in the Bangkok City Hall Assembly under the Ruam Thai United Party, became the first person to step forward to claim that she had been allegedly raped by Democrat deputy leader Prinn Panitchapakdi. Around 20 others have made similar allegations, with some reporting Prinn to the police for alleged rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. At a press conference on Thursday, he claimed that he’s innocent and he’s “not that type of person”. With the allegations piling up he decided to quit the position so he could fight against the numerous claims and accusations that had surfaced in recent weeks.

            Anna decided not to tell anyone until after Prinn’s media conference yesterday when he announced his resignation from the party. When she found out that she wasn’t the only one who was abused by the same man, many women have since come forward with their own stories and allegations.

            Anna felt it was necessary to speak out and stand up for herself against the man they’ve accused and similar violent acts. She’s since reported to the police before speaking out. She was asked why failed to come forward immediately after what had happened. She explained that it was very difficult for her to deal with the trauma at the time. She says she dealt with the fallout by raising her antidepressant drug doses.

            She remembers the apartment and other details. She noticed that there is a similar pattern and tactics used when she heard the statements from other females. Reporters kept pushing her for more information… she told them that it’s been over a year since the incident happened in March 2021, and “there isn’t a lot of evidence”.

            Anna stated she met Prinn at a family gathering last year. He invited her out for lunch at an apartment building on Sukhumvit where he allegedly harassed and raped her.

            “I was raped. I didn’t consent. I didn’t think he would be a crook. He’s well dressed, educated and is socially known. I didn’t think he would have done that. But he did and no one could do anything.”
            Prinn Panitchapakdi graduated at London school of Economics and is the eldest son of former Deputy PM Supachai Panitchpakdi. From 2002 to 2005, he served as the Director General of the World Trade Organisation. Prinn was also nominated by the party to, ironically, advocate against violence against women in 2019.

            “Some victims blamed themselves, that they have been fooled or now have a stigma. I want this to be about rape and not politics. I just want the justice system to function. It has become a common thing for politicians to do these kinds of things repeatedly and get away with it… We don’t know how many people he has done this to.”


            • #7
              Alleged victim of sexual assault by politician withdraws from Bangkok election

              A woman who is alleging former Democrat party deputy leader Prinn Panitchpakdi raped her, has announced yesterday she was withdrawing from the Bangkok city councillor election. The woman, Anna Vidhyaphum, said in a Facebook post that she wanted to show that her accusation against Prinn is not politically motivated.

              Anna’s party, The Ruam Thai United party, issued a statement yesterday voicing full support for her. The party also said it supported other victims of sexual violence. Around 20 others have made similar allegations about Prinn, with some reporting Prinn to the police for alleged rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.

              Meanwhile, Prinn claims his innocence. At a press conference on Thursday, he claimed that he is “not that type of person”.

              I insist I am innocent. I deny all allegations. They are groundless. Although what happened is a personal matter, it affects the Democrats.”

              Still, Prinn says he decided to resign in order to protect the Democrat Party’s reputation, and take the time to defend himself in court.

              This morning, Prinn surrendered at Lumpini police station. Police released Prinn after they questioned him, claiming they had no power to hold him in custody because he turned himself in voluntarily and no arrest warrant has been issued at this stage. The police do expect a court warrant to be issued for his arrest tomorrow.

              The Ruam Thai United party, however, said in their statement that it cannot let Prinn’s act go unpunished.


              • #8
                Former Democrat deputy leader now temporarily released, Bangkok

                THE LATEST
                After agreeing this morning to temporarily detain the former deputy leader of the Democrat political party, the Bangkok South Criminal Court has temporarily released Prinn Panitchpakdi on bail on the condition that he wouldn’t leave the country without the court’s permission. The former deputy leader posted bail surety of 700,000 THB Thailand’s Immigration Bureau was to be informed of the court order for Prinn’s travel restrictions. Prinn told the press he trusts Thailand’s justice system, will not leave the country, and will attend every court hearing. Three charges have been filed against Prinn by Lumpini police, in response to complaints from three women who claim they were sexually assaulted or raped by him.

                EARLIER UPDATE
                After over 20 women came forward this week accusing former politician Prinn Panitchpakdi of sexually harassing and assaulting them, the Bangkok South Criminal Court has now approved detention for Prinn this morning (Sunday). Three of the alleged victims lodged complaints with Lumpini police, and the police requested that Prinn be detained for further questioning about the allegations. Prinn attended a hearing at Lumpini Police Station with his lawyer this morning. After the hearing concluded, the court approved detention. Prinn requested bail and he and his lawyer were then escorted to the court. There will be a hearing about the possibility of bail. Police major-general Trairong Piewpan, deputy commissioner of Metropolitan Police, says that the police in charge of handling the case will oppose bail, but will propose that some conditions be set by the court. These include a ban on leaving the country and a ban on interference with witnesses, if Prinn is granted bail.

                ORIGINAL STORY
                The number of women sounding the alarm on Thailand’s former Democrat Party deputy leader Prinn Panitchpakdi keeps piling up as yet another alleged victim of sexual assault has filed a case against him. This brings the total number of women alleging that Prinn sexually assaulted or harassed them to over 20 now. The latest woman reporting Prinn is reported to be 25 years old, and has lodged a complaint with city police in Chiang Mai yesterday, accusing Prinn of sexually harassing her at a hotel there. The woman’s name has not yet been revealed. The woman met Prinn at a seminar in Chiang Mai 2 years ago, and he contacted her last year saying was visiting the province for a seminar. She went to the hotel, but there was no seminar. He allegedly grabbed her hand, moved closer, and kissed her on the lips.

                So far, the one woman who has publicly revealed her identity is 30 year old Anna Vidhyaphum. Anna stated she met Prinn at a family gathering last year. He invited her out for lunch at his condominium on Sukhumvit where he allegedly harassed and raped her. “I was raped. I didn’t consent. I didn’t think he would be a crook. He’s well dressed, educated and is socially known”. Two other alleged victims are reported to be 18 years old. One of the 18 year olds said Prinn harassed her when she met him at a hotel restaurant bar, where they had planned to discuss economic topics for her studies. Instead, Prinn focused on sexual topics before allegedly touching and kissing her on her hands and cheeks. The other 18 year old alleges Prinn invited her to dinner, and pressured her to drink wine. He then allegedly asked if she had a boyfriend before asking if they could have sex. She claims he then touched her hands and face and made other advances in the restaurant. This is an unfolding story, and the public is yet to see what decisions authorities will make on the allegations, and if formal charges will be laid against the prominent politician.


                • #9
                  3 more women break their silence, adding to claims of Prinn’s alleged sexual abuse

                  More potential #MeToo victims are coming out of the closet, as Thailand faces what may be the largest sex scandal involving a senior politician. On Monday, another three women filed complaints with police against former Democrat deputy leader Prinn Panitchpakdi, for a total of eight women who have officially accused him of sexual misconduct, according to a report by the Bangkok Post. Thai media has put the current tally at 14.

                  Lawyer Sittra Biebangkerd escorted the three women to file reports with the Lumphini police yesterday afternoon in Bangkok. He updated the media on the details of the three new accusers, while saying there are other who have yet to speak out. According to Sittra, the sixth accuser is a 26 year old woman who gave the lawyer an audio clip on Sunday, which has since been aired publicly. She claims Prinn raped her in 2020.

                  “She claimed the suspect had offered money in exchange for her silence, but she has stopped receiving the money.”

                  The seventh accuser, Sittra said, is a 21 year old woman who claims that Prinn molested her when she was an intern. The alleged attack happened in a car in 2019 when she was 17 years old. The eighth woman claims Prinn also molested her, but she has not consented to releasing the details of her ordeal to the public.

                  Sittra said that in addition to the three, there are another four women who were unavailable to join him on Monday to file their complaints. Most of the women say they were enticed to dine with Prinn before he allegedly attacked them. One woman even claims that Prinn drugged her. Her complaint is forthcoming. Meanwhile, another woman who is in the UK plans to present herself as a witness.

                  Monday’s allegations brings the amount of women who have officially filed complaints to a total of eight, the the Bangkok Post reported on Tuesday morning. Three women had previously filed complaints with Lumphini police, with another one in Phetchaburi and one more in Chiang Mai. However, Thai media reports there’s already a higher number of accusers. Notably, Channel 3 has posted a report with the profiles of 14 alleged victims who have so far filed complaints with police against Prinn.

                  On Sunday, Bangkok’s South Criminal Court detained Prinn for three counts of sexual assault and harassment, before temporarily releasing him on bail, on the condition that he wouldn’t leave the country. Yesterday morning, Thai feminist groups banded together to stage a protest in front of Democrat party headquarters in Bangkok, in the wake of mounting allegations against the politician.

                  Police on Monday also updated the media about the progress of the investigation into Prinn’s alleged sexual abuse. Notably, police have not found grounds for reported allegations that Prinn, in collaboration with a police colonel, attempted to pressure accusers to drop their charges, according to Pol. Maj. Gen. Trairong.

                  “If evidence is found, police will request the prosecutor to revoke Mr. Prinn’s bail.”

                  Regarding the first complaint from an unnamed 18 year old woman, police say they’ve gathered enough evidence from a Bangkok hotel in Watthana district where the alleged attack took place. That’s according to the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Pol. Maj. Gen. Trairong Piwpan, who said the relevant evidence has already been submitted for examination to the Forensic Science Division.

                  Accompanied by her mother, the young woman filed a report with police last week, opening the door for others to come out of the dark in what may be Thailand’s largest #MeToo case to date.


                  • #10
                    Political activist and Move Forward member found hanged in north-east Thailand

                    A member of the Move Forward political party, who disappeared on Monday, has been found hanged in the north-eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima. Thai PBS World reports that the body of 27-year-old activist Anan Lokate, aka “Boy”, was found hanged by a police kiosk in the district of Chaloem Phra Kiat yesterday.

                    The secretary-general of the Move Forward Party, Chaithawat Tulathong, has declined to comment on the activist’s death, saying he is waiting for the autopsy report before issuing a statement. Anan was a member of Move Forward’s financial team and had been in the Muang district of Nakhon Ratchasima on April 17 and 18 for a north-eastern candidate seminar, held in a local hotel.

                    According to Thai PBS World, he was last spotted at around midday on Monday, walking by himself along Chan Road. The location where his body was found is around 20 kilometres from where he was last seen. Some Move Forward members are asking businesses in the area to check their CCTV footage for clues as to what might have happened to the activist. His mother has visited Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital to claim her son’s body, stating that she doesn’t believe he committed suicide.

                    Meanwhile, Rangsiman Rome, a Move Forward MP, has posted on Facebook to express his shock at Anan’s untimely death, adding that nobody knows why he went missing on Monday. Rangsiman says he previously worked with Anan on a campaign that called for the rejection of the existing Constitution in a 2016 referendum.

                    The MP says police in the central province of Samut Prakan had previously arrested both Anan and himself while they were campaigning for charter rejection. They were detained for 2 weeks and their subsequent court case dragged on for 4 years, before they were eventually acquitted.


                    • #11
                      Upcoming campaign to urge Bangkok to vote in governor election

                      Just 2 weeks ahead of Bangkok’s election for a new governor, the Election Commission will launch a campaign tomorrow urging the public to vote. The elections are to be held on May 22. Tomorrow (Monday), the campaign will be held at City Hall, and trucks with loudspeakers will drive through all 50 of Bangkok’s districts. Speakers will urge people to exersise their voting rights, as this is the first governor election in 9 years.

                      The highest ever number of candidates, 31, have registered for the election. Candidates registered at City Hall in March, each promising to improve a number of conditions. The Thai Sang Thai candidate, Sita Divari, vows to improve Bangkok’s flood drainage system and traffic management if he wins. The Democrat Party Candidate, Suchatvee Suwansawat, promises to introduce wi-fi coverage throughout the capital.

                      The Move Forward candidate is Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn. Wiroj is campaigning to remove fences around Sanam Luang a public square and park in Bangkok, to give the public more access to it. The park has a long history, with its auspicious location and role in the life of Thailand’s royal family and ceremonies, as well as a location for protests. It was the site of the 1976 ‘Thammarat Massacre’ where government and police cracked down on ‘leftist’ protesters.

                      Ahead of tomorrow’s campaign event, the election’s director warned candidates not to do anything beyond the permissible legal limits of election spending, authorities and duties. He said campaigning has so far mostly been within the law, except for some complaints about campaign posters. He also said that some councillor candidates exceeded their authority in electioneering. Lastly, he said that some campaign staffers had given T-shirts to their children, who are not part of their staff, warning that this could be deemed as buying votes.


                      • #12
                        Yet another allegation of sexual crimes against Thailand’s Prinn

                        In the latest allegation against Thailand’s now infamous former deputy leader of the Democrat Party, a woman is accusing Prinn Panitchpakdi of indecent exposure in a restaurant in 2013, and rape in 2014.
                        The alleged rape cannot be investigated because the victim didn’t report it within months of when it happened, and yet, police say they will summon Prinn to acknowledge the charge of indecent exposure next week.

                        As Metropolitan police investigate 5 cases connected to Prinn, police in Phetchaburi and Chiang Mai are also looking into allegations against him in their provinces. With over 20 women now having come forward and accusing Prinn of sexual abuse and rape, this is being called Thailand’s #MeToo moment.

                        Last month, Thai feminists protested in front of Democrat Party headquarters in Bangkok, and danced to an anthem titled “Sida Lui Faai” — i.e. “Sida Through Fire” — a reference to how victims of sexual abuse in Thailand are often blamed by the powers that be for the abuse that happens to them.

                        They also read aloud a prepared statement, grilling Prinn for inferring that sexual abuse is a “personal matter”. This, they said, was a way of deflecting blame from himself and onto his victims.

                        But it’s not just Prinn. Thailand has a problem with rape culture and victim blaming. In Thai soap operas, commonly known as lakhorns, a common storyline is for a relationship to start through rape. After the man rapes the woman, she then falls in love with him. In the hierarchical society that Thailand is, women are often scared and discouraged from speaking up against powerful men like Prinn, because of what the consequences could be.


                        • #13
                          Alcohol ban in Pattaya and Bangkok from 6:00 pm Saturday May 21.2022

                          We know you just can’t get enough of Thailand’s alcohol bans, so here’s another one coming up tonight for you in Pattaya and Bangkok! From 6pm tonight (Saturday) until 6pm tomorrow night, alcohol sales will be banned in Pattaya and Bangkok due to the Pattaya mayoral election, and the Bangkok governor election, both of which are tomorrow.

                          Those who break the law risk six months in prison, a fine of up to 10,000 THB or both. For the designated 24 hours, no alcohol can be purchased, sold, or distributed. While the ban will apply to all 50 districts of Bangkok, it won’t apply to neighbouring provinces like Nakhon Pathom or Nonthaburi. So if you’re really craving your Singha, it’s best to head over there.

                          The ban is reportedly supposed to discourage so-called ‘drink voting’ in Thailand, preventing people from voting for candidates they might regret voting for later on. It is also reportedly supposed to prevent election manipulation. But in past elections, angry social media users, particularly expats, called the ban a part of Thailand’s “ridiculous war on alcohol“.

                          The upcoming governor election is Bangkok’s first in 9 years. The highest ever number of candidates, 31, have registered for the election. Candidates registered at City Hall in March, each promising to improve a number of conditions. Earlier this month, the Election Commission launched a campaign tomorrow urging the public to vote. Trucks with loud speakers drove through Bangkok urging people to exercise their voting rights, as this is the first time in nearly a decade that they can.


                          • #14
                            Bangkok is off to the polls today to elect a new Governor

                            4.4 million eligible Bangkokians head to the polls today to vote for a new Governor. Out of the 77 provincial electorates in Thailand, only Bangkok has an election for the top post. Mostly, the Governors are titular rather than political appointments and spend a lot of their time opening pre-schools and planting trees. The provincial governors are hand-picked by the central government, but not BKK.

                            In Bangkok, the position of Governor inevitably ends up with a political dimension as aspiring Bangkokian take a tilt at the post. Today’s election sees 31 candidates fronting up in, what’s been, a colourful election with the cheap vinyl vote-for-me banners scattered around the city’s roads looking decidedly tatty after flopping around in the wind for the past 2 months.

                            The face on the winning vinyl banner will serve for 4 years. The vote will be across 50 seats on the Bangkok Metropolitan Council.

                            It’s been a long 8 years since the capital’s locals have voted for a Governor. After the coup in 2014, the military junta suspended the Bangkok election and appointed a non-elected Bangkok governor, 71 year old Aswin Kwanmuang, who has been at the post ever since. He’s running again in this election though the polls indicate he is unlikely to be elected.

                            Whilst much of the early headlines were dominated by the downfall of Democrat deputy leader Prinn Panitchpakdi, which led to a shake up in the national Democrat party infrastructure, forcing the exit of a number of the leadership team. It certainly killed off the chances of any candidates affiliated with the centrist Democrat party.

                            It’s also clear that the outcome of today’s vote in the capital will be a barometer for next year’s general election (it could be called any time from later this year. But… This Is Thailand). On that note, the current coalition government, cobbled together mostly from a fractured group of independents, has been side-lined as the candidates do their best to distance themselves from the national topics.

                            On the matter of the policies and debates throughout the campaign, it has surprisingly focussed on issues that the Bangkok Governor can do little about. Cost of living expenses, fuel costs, appeasing the protesters, PM 2.5 micron particulate air pollution… even Bangkok floods. Most of these are national issues. The Bangkok flooding is certainly a Bangkok city issue (floods perfectly on-queue earlier this week in the final days of the campaign) but needs massive infrastructure spending, beyond the rates raised in Bangkok, if it is really going to be tackled.

                            With Bangkok sinking, slowly, and the Gulf of Thailand water rising, just as slowly, high-cost decisions will have to be made to either move parts of Bangkok away from the rising waters or build significant levies to repel the water. So any lectern thumping from candidates over this issue are well beyond the scope of the Governor’s powers, or budget, in their 4 year term. In fact, most of the candidates showed a complete misunderstand the limits of power for the Bangkok governor as they posted their promises and travelled around the city for photo opportunities.

                            Without going through the 31 candidates, most of whom appear to have little idea about the scope of the powers of the Bangkok governor, we’ll give you a quick bio of the expected winner, the front runner in all the pools leading up to today’s vote.

                            Dr. Chadchart Sittipunt is a 55 year old politician and former transport minister, engineer and university professor. As Thailand has been looking inward and coping with the Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns, Chadchart has spent the 2 years preparing for today’s poll.

                            A network of more than 10,000 volunteers, politicians and academics have been working around the 50 districts of Bangkok in a co-ordinated lead up campaign. His manifesto for post 2022 Bangkok includes over 200 policy proposals.

                            “For more than two years, we have had a crucial force that joined our ‘Friends of Chadchart’ team and that is community volunteers – brothers, sisters and friends who have helped us reach various communities in the 50 districts of Bangkok.”
                            Notably, through the darker days of lockdowns and restrictions across Bangkok, his teams have been actively involved in ‘Neighbourhood’ projects to distribute food bags, medicine and relief items. He has pressed the flesh right around Greater Bangkok and firmly planted himself as the experienced, and preferred, front-runner.

                            Earlier Chadchart was a member of Thailand’s biggest opposition party, Pheu Thai, which he left in 2019 to focus on the Bangkok governor race. His stand-out ‘lead from the front’ campaign has been a thorn in the side of the Bangkok elite and the ruling conservative Prayut government.

                            Chadchart’s campaign focus was at least ‘local’ and achievable… to improve 9 key aspects of the capital – environment and public health to economy, transportation, a lack of rubbish bins and waste segregation at the source, and creative public spaces.

                            His only threat is any possible shenanigans or vote-swapping from 4 conservative and royalist candidates that represent the ‘other’ side of politics. Their failure, at least during the campaign, to make any serious headway, or eat into Chadchart’s poll lead, is being reflected in murmurings at the national government leadership level that may lead to more instability following today’s election.

                            The quartet – former governor Aswin Kwanmuang, Suchatvee Suwansawat (a Democrat who has spent most his time shaking off the #metoo noise), and independents Sakoltee Phattiyakul and Rosana Tositrakul. The conservative quartet came up with the idea of “strategic voting” to boost their chances. But they have been squabbling over who would stand back and allow another in the quartet to garner the required votes to take on Chadchart.

                            If Chadchart does lose today’s vote it will be an indictment of every polling company in Bangkok. But he’s clearly done his homework, worked for over 2 years to win the position and has the political mileage and experience.
                            There is an alcohol ban across Bangkok today until 6pm. By the way, same in Pattaya where there is a mayoral election today as well.


                            • #15
                              Bangkok unanimously elected civilian governor

                              In Bangkok’s first governor election in eight years, independent candidate Chatchat won the vote by a landslide and broke the record for the highest number of votes ever in a Bangkok gubernatorial election, much to the dismay of the incumbent military government.

                              Of the 4.3 million people eligible to vote, a total of 2.6 million people voted yesterday.

                              Over 50% of all voters voted for 55-year-old Chadchart, who won a total of 1.38 million votes. Runners up were miles behind, with Suchatvee Suwansawat from the Democratic Party coming in second place with around 254,000. The former Governor Police General Aswin Kwanmuang who is a puppet governor put in by the military coup eight years ago, came fifth with 215,000 votes. Who would have thought that civilians would prefer fellow civilian candidates?

                              Some will be very unhappy about the former Pheu Thai transport minister’s win, most notably the incumbent coalition government led by the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha. Candidates representing the conservative side of Thai politics were decimated, that includes candidates representing Prayut’s Palang Pracharat Party, the Democrats, and the royalist parties.

                              Chadchart Sittipunt was the transport minister for the opposition Pheu Thai party when on May 22, 2014, there was a military coup, exactly 8 years from the day the Bangkok Governor election was held. On the day of the coup in 2014, Chadchart was taken away to a secret location, against his will, with a bag over his head by Thai soldiers.

                              So his landslide wins exactly 8 years later is doused in the sweet smell of retribution.

                              Chadchart proposed a total of 214 policies and projects which he believes will play a part in improving Bangkok’s environment, public safety, economy, health, travel, education, planning, and administration.

                              Chadchart studied civil engineering at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok and went on to receive an MA in engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

                              He said the next four years will be a hopeful time in which people will make positive changes together. The election was fair and transparent, he added.