Minister deposed by military sweeps Bangkok elections

Bangkok, May 23 (EFE).- Chadchart Sittipunt, transport minister deposed in the 2014 military coup, swept the Bangkok governor elections held Sunday, in which the party of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha suffered a strong blow, according to results published Monday.

Chadchart outscored the rest of the field by a wide margin, amassing more than 54 percent of the total 2.56 million ballots in local elections held for the first time in nine years, according to preliminary results from the Electoral Commission.

The elected governor, arrested during the May 22, 2014 uprising, promised to work to “overcome all the conflicts of the past,” in reference to the political division that Thailand has suffered for more than 15 years, with the aim of “moving forward together.”

The politician, who presented himself with an independent platform, went to the elections with a 100-point program to improve the chaotic metropolis, including improvements in the public transport system, the construction of new parks and providing aid to most vulnerable classes.

In addition to the governor, Bangkok residents also elected representatives of the 50 districts that make up the city.

The Phue Thai – which did not present a candidate for governor in a nod to Chadchart, where he served until the coup – won 19 of them, while the progressive Move Forward – whose candidate for governor was third – won in 14 jurisdictions.

The Palang Pracharat platform, which leads the government coalition headed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, only won two districts of Bangkok, a city that has traditionally been a conservative fiefdom.

Prayut, the general who led the military coup and became a politician since 2019, is suffering from severe wear in the face of the general elections that must be held before the end of March 2023.

The government party also did not present a candidate for governor in veiled support for the current councilor, Aswin Kwanmuang, handpicked in 2016 by the military, and who came fifth with about 200,000 votes.

The result of local elections can be translated into a national key, various political analysts said, as they are the first elections held after massive student protests demanding profound democratic reform in the country, including in the powerful monarchy. EFE


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