Pheu Thai divided over governor pick

Sudarat Keyuraphan and Pongsapat Pongcharoen have been tipped as possible Pheu Thai Party candidates in the upcoming Bangkok governor election scheduled for Feb 17.

Pheu Thai members are divided over whom to nominate, a source at the ruling party said.

One group has backed former poli-tician Khunying Sudarat as the party candidate, while the other group favours Pol Gen Pongsapat, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, to run in the election.

Bangkok MPs, city councillors and district councillors have thrown their support behind Khunying Sudarat, the source said, while party executives and key party members such as Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung are behind Pol Gen Pongsapat. The source said Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra was not supporting Khunying Sudarat.

On Thursday, politicians backing Khunying Sudarat met at a restaurant in the Ram Intra area, where they agreed to make their stance known to the ruling party. The group plans to submit a letter to the prime minister and party executives urging them to back Khunying Sudarat, the source said.

If the party decides to nominate Pol Gen Pongsapat, the group will ask to field Khunying Sudarat for a by-election in Don Muang area after party MP Karun Horsakul had been red-carded.Pheu Thai is expected to announce its nominee once the opposition Democrat Party has selected its candidate for the Bangkok governor election.

Bangkok city clerk Ninnart Chalitanon said yesterday the term of current governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra will end on Jan 10. The law stipulates that the election of a new governor must be held within 45 days of the tenure ending.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration estimates the election will cost 165 million baht.

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Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth and Supoj Wancharoen