Thailand: Thaksin-linked candidate’s electoral victory rocks Thai government

  • By giving a landslide victory to a Thaksin-linked candidate in Bangkok’s gubernatorial election on 22 May 22, the voters of Thailand’s largest city sent a clear message to Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s ruling party: They believe the Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) is in a tailspin and that the opposition Pheu Thai Party is likely to stage a comeback in a general election due 2022.
  • Bangkok’s new governor is Chadchart Sittipunt, a former transport minister who has long been associated with the Pheu Thai Party and remains close to former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
  • In Bangkok’s first gubernatorial election in nine years, Chadchart won 1.38 million votes, far outpacing Police Gen. Asawin Kwanmuang, a candidate backed by the ruling PPRP, who attracted 214,805 voters.
  • “It is a very clear message,” Boonyakiat Karavekphan, a political scientist at Bangkok’s Ramkamhaeng University, told Nikkei Asia. ” If you look into the results of the city council election, it is very obvious that people are bored with the current government and want another choice, the opposite of the ruling [party].”
  • Members of the Bangkok Metropolitan Council, the legislative branch of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, were elected the same day, with the Pheu Thai Party winning 20 of 50 seats. The PPRP secured 2 seats.
  • Political critics and analysts say Chadchart’s landslide shows that the capital’s voters prefer the former transport minister and Thaksin friend to Prayuth’s party.
  • Analysts say Bangkokians have been growing weary of the city’s rising costs of living, its worsening pollution, chronic traffic jams and persistent flooding under the management of Asawin, who was the metropolis’ appointed governor until Mar 22.

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