Bangkokians Want to Know : Why is Bangkok Governor Elections Being Delayed?

Bangkokians Want to Know : Why is Bangkok Governor Elections Being Delayed?

Bangkokians Want to Know : Why is Bangkok Governor Elections Being Delayed?

 The race for the Bangkok Governor heats up, with candidates launching themselves and parties racing to find candidates with top notch credibility and credentials to compete.

However, the buzz question at the moment that is being asked more than who Bangkokians will vote for is, when will they actually be allowed to cast their vote?

The people of Bangkok are anxious to have the chance to elect their own Governor, especially since the last election was conducted in 2013 and recently the nationwide sub-district elections were held and completed across the country.

In 2014, the Natonal Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha froze all subnational elections after seizing power and in 2016 the NCPO replaced elected Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra of the Democrat Party with retired Police General Aswin Kwanmung who is the incumbent Governor today.

The disillusionment of Bangokians over Governor Aswin’s performance stems from what is deemed as his inability in solving Bangkok’s chronic problems, whether it has to do with flooding and traffic congestion or with Covid-19 vaccine distribution.

From the results of the Superpoll more than 85 percent of respondents in Bangkok wish the elections would be held sooner rather than later.
Earlier, there were speculations that it would be held before this year end after the sub district elections and then later an April date was floated, but now it does not look like it would happen until mid next year.

Recently, Pheu Thai’s spokesperson, Tirarat Sumretwani demanded to know, why is the Prime Minister delaying the Bangkok Gubernatorial elections?Is it because Palang Pracharath lacks a viable candidate?
The spokeswoman further said that Bangkokians and their problems have been neglected for over 5 years, whereby an elected Governnor, Sukhumbhand, was fired by PM Prayuth and replaced by appointed Governor Aswin, with a promise that once the country is peaceful and stable, the elections for Bangkok Governor will be held.
So, what are we waiting for? Does Bangkok have to keep tolerating a Governor who was not elected by the people?
PM Prayuth, when asked by reporters, said that he is not delaying anything, just waiting for a level of preparedness, he said “Maybe it will be sooner or later (the election date) but why would I delay it? I am not connected in anyway, whatever I can do, I am doing. The reporter then asked the PM had once said, when the country is peaceful, Bangkok Gubernatorial elections will be held, but when will that be? To that, he replied not later than mid next year.

Netizens are still not convinced that the elections will be held until Palang Pracharath finds a winning candidate.

Local level politics especially in the country’s capital reflects political trends at the national level. A win in Bangkok will go a long way in establishing a win at national level elections.

Recently, Palang Pracharath were optimistic that they had a winning candidate in Pathum Thani Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn known for his role in forming the coordinating centre for the rescue of a football team, from a flooded cave in Chiang Rai a few years ago, when he was Governor of Chiang Rai.

However, Governor Narongsak has since then declined the offer to run for Bangkok Governor, under the Palang Pracharath banner citing reasons that he wanted to retire with dignity and respect as a civil servant, after which he wanted to teach, governing Bangkok is complicated and he is not up for the job, preferring to see the younger generation move Bangkok forward.

Analysts and political gurus believe that his backdown from the race stems from the fact that he has to face two formidable opponents Chadchart Sittiput, leader in all Nida Polls by a huge margin and Suchatvee Suwansawa, a rising star creating waves, fronted by Democrat party.
Plus, the Palang Pracharath banner is not a sure bet any longer, given the drop in popularity of PM Prayuth and the Palang Pracharath party.

Palang Pracharath is in a stressful predicament. The party does not have any strong candidates to run but yet need to generate momentum for the national elections scheduled for early 2023 by winning the Bangkok Gubernatorial elections.

An alternative choice would be to throw in their weight behind Suchatvee from the Democrat party, a party that is part of the coalition government, but that would not be ideal for PM Prayuth’s government as they seek to have Palang Pracharat party dominate at the national level.

It’s crucial for Palang Pracharath party to come in first or second in terms of votes at the national level, so that it justifies the appointment of PM Prayuth back as Prime Minister with the support of the 250 senators.
The Bangkok Gubernatorial elections results has a direct impact on PM Prayuth’s chances of a return.

PM Prayuth and the Palang Pracharath need to think long and hard and that takes time. Until they come up with a winning candidate or a winning strategy, Bangkokians can wait.

Written By - Patra Manas.