By Thai Newsroom Reporters
CHADCHART SITTIPUNT’S landslide victory as Bangkok governor has dealt a crushing blow to the Prayut regime as a whole, according to a noted university academic.
The results of Sunday’s gubernatorial and Bangkok Metropolitan council elections have significantly underscored the current situation in which most Bangkokians have no longer relied on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Palang Pracharth-led coalition government throughout the last eight years of his “undemocratic” rule since he named himself head of a military-installed government, following the 2014 coup, commented Thammasat University political scientist Prajak Kongkirati.
The overwhelming triumph of Chadchart who has run as a non-partisan contestant and won some 1.38 million votes for Bangkok governor in addition to the victories of Pheu Thai and Move Forward contenders for Bangkok Metropolitan councillors appeared to be a concerted response from the anti-government voters to the military-installed Prayut regime, according to the Thammasat academic.
“The landslide victories of Chadchart and Pheu Thai and Move Forward contestants remarkably pinpointed the shared sentiment that the Prayut government is no longer trustworthy in the eye of most Bangkok voters who were simply looking for change,” the academic said.
Out of a total of 50 Bangkok Metropolitan council seats, Pheu Thai Party has won 19 seats and Move Forward Party has grasped 14 seats, compared to nine seats for coalition partner Democrat Party and two seats for the largest ruling Palang Pracharath Party.
Yesterday’s Bangkok gubernatorial and council elections have seen a 60% voter turnout, deemed as lower than expected, among a total of about 4.5 million constituents who had the right to go to the polls.
Prajak concluded that those who have given Chadchart some 1.38 million votes would be largely viewed as anti-government, progressive voters whereas those who have picked certain other contestants such as Suchatvee Suwansawat of Democrat Party who has secured some 254,000 votes, former deputy Bangkok governor Sakoltee Pattiyakul who has been given some 230,000 votes, former Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang who has grasped some 214,000 votes and former woman senator Rosana Tositrakul who has been given some 79,000 votes would likely be seen as pro-government, conservative voters.
That compared to the overwhelming 1.38 million votes for Chadchart, some 253,000 votes for Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn of Move Forward Party and some 73,000 votes for Sita Tivari of Thai Sarng Thai Party.
Sunday’s gubernatorial race marked the first of its kind in nine years with Aswin having been handpicked by the coup junta as Bangkok governor for about five and a half years since 2016.
Prajak suggested that Prayut who has earlier publicly announced his intention to prolong his rule for another five years and is yet to be determined by the Constitutional Court as to whether a maximum of eight years of his rule as provided by law will have been completely consumed by the upcoming August should think it over again, given the latest political environment in which those pro-government contenders have been largely outvoted by the anti-government ones.
Prajak joined ranks with Prayut’s critics to the extent of urging coup-leader-turned-premier to call it quits for good instead of trying to prolong his rule beyond the next general election.
The academic advised that Palang Pracharath Party leader/Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan should as well review his camp’s plans and schemes to contest the next general election for MPs of Bangkok, given yesterday’s results of the gubernatorial and councillor races in the capital.
Though Palang Pracharath Party had not sent a candidate vying for Bangkok governor, most of the pro-government, conservative constituents were largely expected to pick Suchatvee or Sakoltee or Aswin as opposed to Chadchart, Wiroj and Sita, according to the Thammasat academic.
Yesterday’s results of the gubernatorial and council races in Bangkok which virtually constitutes Thailand’s largest constituency could probably make a decisive ripple onto all other constituencies throughout the country during the run-up to the next general election, the academic said.
Meanwhile, Prawit admitted that the ruling Palang Pracharath Party may have made mistakes in mapping out electoral campaigns for Bangkok Metropolitan councillors only to be overwhelmingly defeated by the opposition camps.
The Palang Pracharath boss said he will certainly look to revise the party’s partisan strategies and electoral campaigns toward the next election for MPs of Bangkok.
The 2019 election saw the Bangkokians pick 12 Palang Pracharath contestants as MPs, compared to nine winning Pheu Thai candidates and nine winning Move Forward contenders. According to the Thammasat academic, the next race for MPs of Bangkok could probably come out the other way around, given the changing political environment.
Winner of Bangkok governor election Chadchart Sittipunt accompanied by Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn of Move Forward Party who also ran in the race went on a boat ride through Ladprao canal this afternoon to solve the flood problem in this area. He said although the Election Commission had yet to officially confirm him as the new governor urgent problems still had to be solved. Photos: Sanook.com