Abhisit admits Dems in for tough fight

Sukhumbhand says his experience will win day

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has admitted his party's candidate in the upcoming Bangkok governor election, Sukhumbhand Paribatra, is in a tight race with Pheu Thai's Pongsapat Pongcharoen.

Pol GenSereepisuth Temeeyaves, an independent candidate in the Bangkok governor election,and PolGen Pongsapat Pongcharoen,running under the Pheu Thai Party banner, exchange their candidate number stickers as they meet by chance while campaigningonboats on the Saen Saep canal yesterday.

Results of the Abac poll released this week put Pol Gen Pongsapat in the lead on all measures gauging the popularity of candidates ahead of the March 3 election.

MR Sukhumbhand was earlier considered a favourite to win as Bangkok is traditionally a Democrat stronghold.

Mr Abhisit said the race is in the early stages and the party and MR Sukhumbhand will present more concrete policies to voters in coming weeks.

He said the party will closely monitor the political situation and the mood of the public to help them map out strategies for MR Sukhumbhand's campaign.

Early next week the Democrats will mobilise MPs to help MR Sukhumbhand win the election, a party source said.

MPs from the South, for instance, will be responsible for campaigning in nine of Bangkok's 50 districts - Don Muang, Bang Kapi, Saphan Sung, Bung Kum, Kannayao, Lat Krabang, Min Buri, Nong Chok and Klong Sam Wa.

MR Sukhumbhand yesterday addressed the public in front of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

The former Bangkok governor said if he is re-elected, his four years of experience will give him an advantage to continue his work.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday spoke on stage during Pol Gen Pongsapat's campaign stop at the equestrian statue of King Taksin the Great at Wong Wian Yai on the Thon Buri side of Bangkok.

Many other key Pheu Thai members, including Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung and several red shirts, came out in support of the campaign.

The prime minister said Pol Gen Pongsapat will work with the central government to improve the lives of Thon Buri residents so they can live on par with people in Bangkok.

Pol Gen Pongsapat has promised to tackle drugs, create more public parks, add street lights, build bicycle lanes and build an electric train system in Thon Buri.

Seven more candidates registered for the March 3 Bangkok governor election on the last day of applications yesterday, bringing the total number of candidates to 25.

The seven new candidates are Sukhum Wongprasit (No 19), Krit Suriyapol (No.20), Thoranee Rittheethamrong (No.21), Suppachai Khemawong (No.22), Rawiwan Sutthawirisan (No.23), Witthaya Jangkobpattana (No.24), and Pol Col Kachornsak Kosayodhinm (No.25).

The Election Commission will check the qualifications of each of the candidates and will then officially announce the list on Feb 1 of those eligible to contest the poll.

Meanwhile, a network of cyclists will today submit proposals to the Bangkok governor candidates. The cyclists are calling for a commitment to make Bangkok more hospitable for cycling.

The proposals will be presented to MR Sukhumbhand and Danuporn Punnakan, who will represent Pol Gen Pongsapat, at Thammasat University.

About the author

Writer: Supoj Wancharoen
Position: Reporter