Notable business people vying for upper house seats

TUESDAY, JUNE 25, 2024

Well-known names from Thailand’s business sector make it through to the national level of the senatorial election

The ongoing senatorial election is in its final stretch with the national level voting scheduled for Wednesday (June 26) at Impact Forum in Nonthaburi province.

According to the Election Commission (EC), a total of 3,000 candidates, 2,164 males and 836 females, have passed the district and provincial level voting on June 9 and 16, respectively, out of the total 45,753 candidates.

The candidates will vote among themselves to select the new 200-member Senate to replace the 250-member Senate appointed by the junta after the 2014 military-led coup, whose term had ended on May 10.

For this year’s election, the incumbents have been categorised into 20 professions. The Nation looks at some of the elected candidates from five categories, namely 8, 9, 11, 12 and 13, which focus on business entrepreneurs.

Category 8 is for professionals in environment, urban planning, property, infrastructure, and energy industries. Notable candidates in this group include Woravit Chailimpamontri, a director at National Power Supply Plc., Patima Jeerapaet, CEO of Thai AirAsiaX, and Sittichai Kritvivat, CEO of Solartron Plc.

Patima Jeerapaet

Other notable names in this group include business guru Taninrat Pakdeepinyo, former director of Central Pattana and 304 Industrial Park, and Nirat Yoopakdee, managing director of Regent Green Power, developer of low-priced condos in Bangkok.

Category 9 is for operators of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), with a few well-known candidates passing to the national voting round. Among them is Choksaman Silawong, former deputy transport minister during Chuan Leekpai’s administration. He competed in the 2023 general election under the Move Forward Party’s banner but was unsuccessful in securing an MP seat for Udon Thani province.

Category 11 is for tourism entrepreneurs, many of whom have passed to the national level. A few examples are: Thienprasit Chaiyapatranun, president of the Thai Hotel Association and an executive director at Grand Diamond Group, and Panlert Baiyok, chairman of Baiyoke Group, operator of the famous Baiyok Towers I and II.

Category 12 is for industrial entrepreneurs, with notable candidates including Prapee Sorakraikitikul from jewellery enterprise Pranda Group, Wiwat Theekhakhirikul from cosmetic manufacturer Karmarts Plc, and Sorasit Chalisarapong, former chairman of Federation of Thai Industries Lamphun Chapter.

Wiwat Theekhakhirikul

Lastly, notable candidates who passed to the final round of senatorial election in Category 13: Science, technology, communication, and innovation professionals are Pawoot Pongvitayapanu, founder of e-commerce platform and Pravate Tantisajjatham, president of the Thai Blockchain Association.

Senator Pramon Sutivong, who is former chairman of Thai Chamber of Commerce, said that senators from the business sector will use their respective expertise in the upper house, such as pushing for draft laws related to their businesses, as well as negotiations and cooperation in international trade and investments.

“Senators from the business sector will also use their knowledge and experience to provide feedback to the lower house in drafting these laws to ensure highest benefits to the country and its people,” he said.