Candidates woo flood expert Seree

The contenders for the Bangkok governor's job are all attempting to woo flood expert Seree Supratid to be one of their deputies but he's resisting all offers.

The director of the National Disaster Research Centre at Rangsit University admitted he'd been getting a lot of offers but said he wanted to remain neutral for now.

He said he had been approached by independent candidates Pol Gen Sereepisuth Temeeyaves and Kosit Suwinitjit, as well as by the Pheu Thai and Democrat parties.

However, he said he had not yet decided to align himself with any particular candidate.

Seree: Neutral for now. (Photo by Chumporn Sangvilert)

"I have not yet decided to accept any offers," Mr Seree said. "Actually, I can work with anyone who shares my ideas for improving the capital, especially in terms of the environment."

Mr Seree gained fame as one of the few credible authorities on water and flood management during the severe floods at the end of 2011. His nightly updates on television drew large audiences frustrated by the conflicting information they were hearing from national and city politicians and civil servants.

He said he was willing to provide information on water management in the capital to all candidates.

He said he can help any candidate to draw up key policies to win voter support, including pollution control and a project to make Bangkok a flood-free city.

On Saturday he elaborated on the approach made to him by Pol Gen Sereepisuth, a former national police chief.

"I told Pol Gen Sereepisuth that I was too busy to join his team. In fact, I personally don't like to get involved in politics and still want to work for society," he said.

Praphan Khoonmee, a key figure of the People's Alliance for Democracy, said he was set to be named as one of the deputies for Pol Gen Sereepisuth.

Mr Praphan said Pol Gen Sereepisuth wanted him and Mr Seree on his team.

Pheu Thai candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen greets senior party figure Sudarat Keyuraphan at her house in Lat Pla Khao Soi 60 in Bang Khen district on Friday. (Photo by Thanarak Khoonton)

The Democrat Party has not yet chosen a team of deputies to back up its candidate, incumbent governor MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, as it wants to avoid internal rifts, a party source said.

Competition for the four deputy governor positions among party members is intense, the source said.

The party wants all members to work hard to help MR Sukhumbhand in his campaign, the source said. Only if he wins will the party's executives and MR Sukhumbhand jointly decide who will be deputy governors.

Naming the team of deputies ahead of the election could cause a rift within the party because many party members are jockeying extremely hard for seats, the source said.

However, the source added that those who are likely to be nominated could be those with the backing of Suthep Thaugsuban, Democrat MP for Surat Thani and the party's former secretary-general.

Pongsapat Pongcharoen, the Pheu Thai candidate for governor, yesterday met party elder Sudarat Keyuraphan at her house in Lat Pla Khao Soi 60 in Bang Khen district to seek her support for his campaign bid.

He said that as he was a new face in politics, he wanted to ask her for advice on how best to respond to the needs of Bangkok residents.

Khunying Sudarat said she was ready to help Pol Gen Pongsapat and she advised him to work hard during his campaign to win the hearts and minds of the capital's residents.

She also asked Pol Gen Pongsapat to promote moral values among Bangkok people as part of his campaign policies.

She added she would not go on stage to address the public during Pol Gen Pongsapat's campaign stop in front of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration on Monday, as earlier reported. She said she will only attend the event as a gesture of moral support and that she did not want to express her views on politics.

Election Commissioner Prapun Naigowit said about 4.3 million people were eligible to vote in the Bangkok governor election.

He said the EC would campaign to encourage people to vote and is aiming for a turnout of at least 67%.

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