Fri, July 01, 2022

in-focus

Bangkok governor hopefuls in last-minute push before ‘judgement day’


Less than 24 hours before Bangkokians start voting for their governor and city councillors, candidates took to the streets to meet and greet voters.

Independent candidate Chadchart Sittipunt, a front-runner in most opinion polls, called on eligible voters to turn out in great numbers so the winner has the mandate to “fight for the interest of Bangkokians”.

He was on a pick-up truck waving at passers-by as he was driven around the city.

“Vote for the person you trust and believe in. I want lots of voters to come out, so the elected person gets enough of a mandate to rise and fight for the interests of Bangkok residents,” Chadchart said.

Despite his comfortable lead in recent opinion surveys, the former transport minister said the final result is in the hands of Bangkokians.

As for scepticism regarding his political independence, Chadchart said that though he is a politician, he is not involved in any political disputes and is not affiliated with any political parties.

Critics allege that Chadchart, who was PM candidate for leading opposition party Pheu Thai in the 2019 general elections, has retained ties with the party.

Bangkok governor hopefuls in last-minute push before ‘judgement day’

Pheu Thai, which is not vying for the governor’s seat, sent off a campaign caravan to woo votes for candidates contesting for city councillor seats in all 50 districts of Bangkok. Participating in the procession were senior party leaders as well as Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the party’s chief adviser on participation and innovation.

Paetongtarn, the youngest daughter of former prime minister Thaksin, is also serving as “head of the Pheu Thai family” – a position that was created for her when she joined the party in October last year.

“The Pheu Thai Party is ready to improve the lives of Bangkok residents,” she announced on Saturday.

Danuporn Punnakanta, Pheu Thai’s campaign chief, said all the party’s city council members would work with the elected governor to serve Bangkok residents to improve their well-being and finances.

“We ask for a chance to take care of Bangkokians,” he said.

Former Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang, meanwhile, said he was confident of retaining his seat, though he admitted that other candidates were also confident.

Bangkok governor hopefuls in last-minute push before ‘judgement day’

He reminded Bangkok voters that he was not a dreamer and always kept his word.

“You have to decide who you will vote for. Will you choose someone who is good at talking or someone who is good at doing?” Aswin asked.

Also a front-runner in recent opinion surveys, Aswin took to the streets on Saturday for a last-ditch effort to woo voters.

Bangkok governor hopefuls in last-minute push before ‘judgement day’

Sakoltee Phattiyakul, also an independent candidate, said on Saturday that he and his team would “turn Bangkok into a city of opportunities for everyone” if he is elected. He too was driven around the city in a pick-up truck to woo voters.

Meanwhile, Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, chair of the Thai Sang Thai Party, led the final round of campaigning for gubernatorial candidate Sita Divari as well as city councillor candidates.

Sudarat said Thai Sang Thai is a “party for small people” like small-business owners, street vendors, farmers, taxi drivers and delivery men.

Bangkok governor hopefuls in last-minute push before ‘judgement day’

She promised that as governor, Sita would use the party’s policies in running the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

The new party’s campaign caravans were sent to different districts on Saturday.

In his last day of campaign, Democrat Party candidate Suchatvee Suwansawat reminded Bangkokians on Saturday to select “someone who takes care of their home”, not a politician.

Bangkok governor hopefuls in last-minute push before ‘judgement day’

“I would like to take care of this home and everyone in it as best as I can. That’s the duty of the Bangkok governor,” said Suchatvee, an engineering professor who served as president of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang before becoming a Democrat candidate last December.

He joined the party’s city councillor candidates on a caravan across the capital on the eve of the poll.

Separately, Move Forward Party’s Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn spent the last campaign day riding a pick-up truck around Bangkok and calling on voters to cast their ballot on Sunday.

“This is the first chance in nine years, and the election day happens to fall on May 22 – the day a military coup took place in 2014 and a band of thieves stole power from us,” the outspoken politician declared.

He was referring to the General Prayut Chan-o-cha-led coup that led to the creation of the National Council for Peace and Order, which then suspended Bangkok elections along with other local municipality polls. The last Bangkok election was held in March 2013.

Bangkok governor hopefuls in last-minute push before ‘judgement day’

Wiroj said his main policy platform is to turn Bangkok into a “city where everyone is equal”, adding that since his campaign began, he has been pointing to issues of inequality and injustice in the city.

Published : May 21, 2022