Thu, August 18, 2022

in-focus

Pheu Thai wins Bangkok by-election in hammer blow for govt


Pheu Thai Party candidate Surachart Thienthong won the by-election in Bangkok’s Constituency 9 on Sunday, decisively beating the ruling party’s candidate.

According to unofficial results after the ballot count at all 280 polling stations at 8.30pm, Surachart won with 29,416 votes.

Move Forward Party candidate Krunphol Tiansuwan was second on 20,361 votes while Kla Party candidate Atavit Suwannapakdee came third on 20,047 votes.

Surachart declared victory at about 8.35pm and thanked voters for entrusting him to work for them in Parliament.

He said he was proud to be voted into Parliament. He added that although Parliament’s current session had little more than a year to run before the next general election, he would spend this time doing his best to serve residents of the constituency – both those who voted for him and those who did not. He said he would work for his constituents in and outside Parliament.

Surachart also thanked his election rivals and he said he felt honoured to run against them.

“I would like to thank brother Krunphol for being so friendly towards me,” Surachart said.

“Khun Atavit is also a well-rounded person and a politician who is qualified for this post.”

Pheu Thai wins Bangkok by-election in hammer blow for govt Pheu Thai leader Cholnan Srikaew told reporters that the victory showed that people had faith in the democratic camp and wanted to see the dictatorial camp leave power.

The ruling Palang Pracharath Party, which had owned the seat, conceded defeat even before Surachart declared victory. Its candidate Saranrat Jenjaka received only 7,906 votes. Her husband, Sira Jenjaka, was Constituency 9’s MP before his disqualification by the Constitutional Court led to the by-election.

Surachart is a veteran politician in this constituency, having lost it to Sira by just 2,000 votes at the March 2019 general election.

Pheu Thai’s victory secured another House seat for the opposition, reducing the already-slim majority of the Palang Pracharath-led coalition of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Although the opposition may not be able to muster enough votes to oust the government in the next no-confidence debate, observers saw Palang Pracharath’s defeat as a sign that voters are losing patience with the Prayut government. This could affect the outcome of the next national election when the term of the coalition expires in March next year.

That sign was highlighted by Kla Party leader Korn Chatikavanij as he congratulated Pheu Thai. Korn said the outcome showed that voters want to see a change in Thai politics, even though the Kla Party did not win.

Kla candidate Atavit thanked voters who had supported him. He said he received the highest number of votes in Chatuchak, his former constituency while Surachart was victorious in Lak Si district, his stronghold.

Atavit said the outcome showed that Bangkokians want to see a change in politics, adding the government should accept the message and work harder to solve people’s problems.

Pheu Thai wins Bangkok by-election in hammer blow for govt Assoc Dr Yutthaporn Isarachai, a lecturer at Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, said Pheu Thai’s victory could be attributed to many factors, including the demography of the constituency.

But he said the polar-politics battle between the ruling Palang Pracharath and opposition-leading Pheu Thai also counted in the victory. He explained that Pheu Thai had urged voters to elect its candidate to fight against Prime Minister Prayut.

Yutthaporn predicted that defeat would spark more changes in Palang Pracharath. The party has just expelled a group of 21 MPs for dissension against Prayut. Yutthaporn believes Palang Pracharath will now be hit by more defections.

Constituency 9 comprises 167,287 eligible voters – 83,712 in Lak Si and 83,575 in Chatuchak district. A total of 122 polling stations were opened in Lak Si and 158 in Chatuchak. The voter turnout was 52.68 per cent.

Election Commission chairman Ittiporn Boonpracong told reporters that he was satisfied with the way the election was conducted and that there had been no complaints of irregularity or fraud at any polling stations.

Assistant national police chief Sarawut Karnphanit added that police had not received any reports of suspected voting fraud.

Earlier, Thung Song Hong police station received a complaint from a political party that a community leader had barred it from campaigning in the community. Sarawut said the complaint would be investigated and the results reported to the Election Commission.

Published : January 30, 2022

By : THE NATION