Independent Bangkok governor candidate Suharit Siamwalla says city residents should place their votes based on candidates' policies rather than political allegiances.
Suharit: Focusing on social media
"Political conflicts at the national level have spread into local elections. People are making their choice based on loyalty to political parties rather than policy," he said during an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post.
"I want to show them they can elect a governor by freeing themselves from political influence."
Mr Suharit is a DJ, music producer and businessman. He says his campaign team has no politicians involved.
He said he would go to the hustings with creative policies that answer the true needs of Bangkok residents.
His platform _ "a dozen policies" _ shows his desire to create citizen networks to watch over Bangkok and help authorities solve chronic problems, he said.
In his view, Bangkok needs a comfortable and comprehensive public transport system to persuade people to leave their cars at home. He wants buses to be used only for short distances, while monorails could provide a more comfortable mode of public transport for longer commutes.
Bangkok generates about 3.3 million tonnes of waste a year, or 9,000 tonnes a day. Mr Suharit proposed the city make money from reusing and recycling the rubbish and spend it on creating green spaces.
"I don't want to use populist policies to attract voters, as nothing is free," he said.
Mr Suharit differs from other candidates in his refusal to use banners and billboards in his campaign. Instead, he campaigns through social media to court young voters or those who are bored with politics.
About 2 million eligible voters use Facebook, Mr Suharit said. He has targeted this group for his campaign. Many of the voters in this group are below 40 years old.
"If half of this group decides to raise their voices, we could make changes," he said. As of yesterday, his Twitter account @Suharit had over 60,800 followers while that of Pheu Thai Party candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen, @PongsapatBKK, has 3,324.
Democrat Sukhumbhand Paribatra's account, @Sukhumbhandp, has 114,000 followers, but he has been online for the four years since he was elected as the previous governor.
"As a new candidate, I am quite hopeful," Mr Suharit said about his chances.
Mr Suharit said he will kick off his campaign on Saturday by walking. He will take "a million steps" through Bangkok to explore the city's problems, he said.
Each problem he encounters will be photographed and posted on social media sites to encourage Bangkok residents to vote for change, he said.
About the author
Writer: Paritta Wangkiat