Soldiers march to Pheu Thai beat

Army personnel were allowed to vote freely without pressure from their superiors and the majority chose Pheu Thai candidate Pol Gen Pongsapat Pongcharoen to become the new Bangkok governor, according to an army source after the ballot count at booths near their units.

The results were drawn from the counting of ballots cast at polling stations in front of military divisions on Samsen Road in Dusit district that included the 11th Military Circle, the Signals Department, the Anti-Aircraft Artillery Division and the Army Ordnance Department.

According to the vote count, more than 70 per cent of eligible voters in green in the district cast a ticket for the Pheu Thai candidate while a minority went for MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra of the Democrat Party, who unofficially has won Sunday’s gubernatorial election.

For example, at polling station No.55, candidate No 9 (Pol Gen Pongsapat) received as many as 253 votes while candidate No.16 (MR Sukhumbhand) got only 84. 

Army personnel were under no pressure to vote on the orders of their superiors, the military had said before the election. Army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha had also set out a policy that soldiers could vote for anyone and would not be forced to follow orders, an army unit commander speaking on condition of anonymity said. 

The source said privates lodged the majority of votes from each unit. Most of them are from the Northeast. The support for Pol Gen Pongsapat may have come from them because people in the region had a bond with Thaksin Shinawatra and the Pheu Thai Party.  

“These privates sometimes vote [for a candidate] because their parents or wives may have ordered them to. But their superiors could not order them to do so, like in the past, otherwise they would take photos or videotape their commanders as evidence,” the commander said.

Related search: Bangkok governor, pongsapat, pheu thai, soldiers

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Writer: Wassana Nanuam
Position: Reporter