Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Elections in Thailand to decide governor of Bangkok

BANGKOK ( Associated Press) — Bangkok residents go to elections Sunday to elect a new governor, in a race delayed by a military coup and under intense political polarization in which the candidates are either from the conservative establishment or the liberal opposition.

An unprecedented 31 candidates are in the running, but attention has focused on two who have registered as independents.

One is former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt, who looks favored, and the other is Asawin Kwanmuang, who was Bangkok’s military-appointed governor since 2016 but resigned in March to run as a candidate.

The prevailing themes in the campaign were congestion, pollution and repeated flooding.

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A total of 4.4 million people are registered to vote in the capital, which is the largest city in the country. Apart from the governor, they will elect the members of the municipal council. Bangkok’s most recent gubernatorial election was in 2013, a year before the coup that toppled a democratically elected government.

Neither the main opposition party in parliament, Pheu Thai, nor the ruling Palang Pracharath party, associated with the military and the conservative establishment, officially have candidates in this election.

However, Chadchart, 55, is considered by both supporters and detractors to be close to Pheu Thai, for whom he ran for prime minister in the 2019 general election. He was transport minister in the Pheu Thai government from 2012 and 2014.

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