New era dawns for Bangkok as Chadchart triumphs

Political observers believe Bangkok voters overwhelmingly backed Chadchart because he projected himself as a capable administrator with no political affiliations.

The Nation

The Nation



May 23, 2022

BANGKOK – Progressive candidate Chadchart had received 1,282,191 votes as of 10pm according to the Bangkok Metropolitan PR website. The website said this figure was based on tallies in 93.05 per cent or 6,343 of the 6,817 polling stations. Counting was ongoing in 474 stations as of press time.

The voter turnout stands at about 60.69 per cent based on counted ballots so far. Of the ballots tallied, 1.50 per cent or 37,062 were deemed invalid, while 2.70 per cent or 66,867 were “no votes”.

Chadchart surged ahead of Democrat Party’s Suchatvee Suwansawat by 1,046,542 votes, who held the second place with 235,649 votes.

Following Suchatvee closely was Move Forward’s Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn with 235,295 votes, while independent candidate Sakoltee Phattiyakul came in fourth with 213,594 votes. Chadchart’s predecessor, Aswin Kwanmuang, came in fifth with 199,662 votes.

Political observers believe Bangkok voters overwhelmingly backed Chadchart because he projected himself as a capable administrator with no political affiliations.

Though he was transport minister under Yingluck Shinawatra’s government and Pheu Thai Party’s prime ministerial candidate, Chadchart has distanced himself from the party for the past several years to prepare himself for the gubernatorial race.

Chadchart’s lead was visible soon after the polling stations closed at 5pm, and quickly passed the 100,000 mark soon after counting began. The lead became wider as counting continued.

Such overwhelming support for Chadchart prompted many of his rivers to concede defeat. Aswin, who was handed the governor’s job after the 2014 coup, was among the first to acknowledge the winner.

At about 8.40pm, Chadchart went on stage in his election war room to thank voters and acknowledge his unofficial victory.

Chadchart also thanked Suchatvee, who called the projected governor-elect to express his congratulations.

He said most Bangkok governor candidates offered good policies in their campaigns and that he would do his best to adopt these ideas when he runs the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration over the next four years.

Chadchart also said he will work with Bangkok councillors regardless of their political side.

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Progressive Movement, also congratulated Chadchart Sunday night.

“I would like to congratulate Khun Chadchart. If you think our Progressive Movement can be useful in any way, you can call on us to support you. We are willing to support Khun Chadchart in Bangkok politics,” Thanathorn said.

Thai Sang Thai Party’s candidate Sita Divari said earlier in the evening that he did not really want to run for the governor’s post but was encouraged to set an example for the younger politicians.

“Though I may not be elected, I will do my political work, but will first consult the party about my role. Anyway, our goal is to contest the general election,” he said.

Kla Party leader Korn Chatikavanij also congratulated Chadchart on Sunday evening as the vote count indicated the independent candidate was on course to be the next Bangkok governor.

“Congratulations to Mr Chadchart for receiving overwhelming support from Bangkok voters,” Korn posted on Facebook. “He is a man of decisive intentions and strong preparation. I also admire his campaign for creating hope instead of hatred among people. It was truly a creative way of campaigning.”

Wiroj also announced at around 8pm that Chadchart had beaten him and will become Bangkok’s 17th governor.

“Though the counting is not yet finished, the difference is far too high and I must congratulate Mr Chadchart for winning,” Wiroj told the press on Sunday evening. “I want to thank all voters who opted for me and the Move Forward Party today, and also thank them for coming out and exercising their rights.”

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