Yuranunt firms as poll frontrunner
Pheu Thai Party list-MP Yuranunt Pamornmontri has emerged as the party's frontrunner to contest the June 16 by-election in Don Muang district, a party source says.
- Published: 14/05/2013 at 12:00 AM
- Newspaper section: topstories
Yuranunt: Former governor candidate
The source said a group of Pheu Thai MPs from eastern Bangkok had agreed to nominate Mr Yuranunt. The party will meet today to decide on a candidate.
The June 16 election is being held after the Supreme Court's Election Cases Division banned incumbent Karun Hosakul from politics for five years after finding him guilty of defaming Tankhun Jitt-itsara of the Democrat Party during the 2011 general election campaign.
- Earlier report: Democrats choose Tankhun
The nomination comes after other potential candidates including core party member Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, and Pimchana Hosakul, who is a Bangkok city councillor for Don Muang district and the wife of Mr Karun, refused to run in the by-election.
Airports of Thailand (AoT) chairman Sita Divari is seen as another possibility for the nomination, though he seems reluctant to put his name forward.
The source said the timeframe for the by-election is short and the party has to pick someone well-known among voters. Mr Yuranunt has all the requirements, the source said.
Mr Yuranunt ran unsuccessfully in the 2009 Bangkok governor election but won more than 600,000 votes.
That tally shows he is well recognised by Bangkok residents, the source said.
Mr Yuranunt would have to resign as a party list-MP to run in the poll.
However, Pheu Thai would keep its present numbers in the House as fellow party list member Somkiat Soralumpa would be moved up the party list to replace him.
Sqn Ldr Sita has just become AoT chairman and will probably not give up that post to stand in the by-election, the source added. The source said the contest has been narrowed down to Mr Yuranunt and Sqn Ldr Sita as the pair are Khunying Sudarat's close associates.
Pavena Hongsakula, who has worked with Pheu Thai and previously served as an MP in Don Muang under the Prachakorn Thai Party, is not among the potential candidates this time, the source said.
Yuranunt Pamornmontri, in full campaign mode, during his run for Bangkok governor in 2009. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Sqn Ldr Sita said Monday he had just been appointed AoT chairman and if the party wanted him to run in the by-election, it should have discussed the matter in advance.
Mr Karun said he did not want to encourage his wife to run in the by-election because she still has two years remaining in her term as a city councillor.
He said it would be improper for her to quit the post which would prompt another by-election to fill her seat.
The Election Commission is also preparing to petition the Civil Court to order Mr Karun to pay for the cost of holding the by-election, estimated at 10 million baht.
Speaking to reporters at her home in Soi Lat Plakhao 60 yesterday, Khunying Sudarat said she would not run for the nomination.
She admitted, however, that senior Pheu Thai figures approached her to stand as the party's candidate.
She said she turned down the request because she wanted to concentrate on her project to renovate Lord Buddha's birthplace in southern Nepal.
She said she believed the party would decide on a candidate today.
Asked about the videotaped verbal confrontation between Mr Tankhun and Mr Karun which went viral on YouTube over the weekend, Khunying Sudarat said she did not expect it would lead to violence in the by-election.
In her 21 years in politics she had never seen any election violence in Bangkok, she added.
She also said she would not consider taking up a cabinet post if there was a reshuffle of portfolios.
The Democrat Party yesterday resolved to field Mr Tankhun as its candidate in the by-election, party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said after meeting the party's executive committee.
Deputy Democrat leader Korn Chatikavanij said Mr Tankhun has what it takes to run in the by-election.
He took care of people in Don Muang during the flooding in 2011 and has continued to work hard for the public even though he was not serving as an MP, Mr Korn said.
About the author
- Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth & Manop Thip-Osod