With the number of candidates for Bangkok governor standing at a whopping 24 as of last week, you can't say voters in the capital lack for choices in the March 3 poll. But then again, trying to find substantive differences in the candidates is another matter, because for the most part they make promises that are seldom if ever backed up by analyses of their feasibility and cost.
Out of the two dozen-plus candidates, only eight are considered "serious", and probably only two have a realistic chance of assuming the office - Democrat-backed incumbent Sukhumbhand Paribatra and Pheu Thai-backed Pongsapat Pongcharoen. But neither of the front-runners has a commanding lead. According to the latest survey by Bangkok University, Mr Pongsapat is ahead of MR Sukhumbhand by a scant 23.9% to 23.6%, and with 42.1% of respondents saying they hadn't yet made up their minds who to vote for, anything could happen. This important point should be enough to make the eight major contenders sharpen their game in the next four weeks and be prepared to explain their positions more clearly and how they would go about implementing them.
According to the survey, the two most urgent areas for the new governor to address are the rising cost of living and traffic congestion. The first of these is probably almost completely out of the hands of any city governor, but there's always hope for the latter if the right policies are implemented, and this, of course, means a well thought out and comprehensive mass transit system.
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