Happy days for Chadchart
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Happy days for Chadchart

While public approval of his performance after one year in office is good enough to let Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt breathe a sigh of relief, he cannot stay complacent as polls show his popularity is shrinking nonetheless.

Mr Chadchart won by a landslide, with 1.38 million votes, in the gubernatorial poll in May last year, during a time when city-voters were eager for change after more than five years of Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang, the military regime's pick. Mr Chadchart must learn also that with enormous support comes great expectations.

According to a recent poll conducted by Nida, 27.75% of city respondents said they found Mr Chadchart's performance very satisfactory, a rate substantially lower than the 38.9% recorded in a previous poll in December.

Over 47% of respondents said they were still satisfied with the governor, saying he had worked hard and quickly to solve problems. He was among the first to be seen at trouble spots such as fire-hit areas.

However, the scores of those who are not satisfied and highly dissatisfied increased from 7.93% last time to 10% this time, and 10.54% to 14.8% respectively.

While insisting that he has already given it his best shot, Mr Chadchart promised to improve his performance, particularly on tackling the cost of living for Bangkokians.

He said he looked forward to coordinating with the new government. On Tuesday, he met Move Forward (MFP) party leader Pita Limjaroenrat who stands to be the next prime minister, if all goes to plan.

The governor has adhered to his so-called "smaller arteries" tactics, concentrating on matters close to people's everyday lives, for instance potholes, household waste collection and street lighting.

He takes pride in Traffy Fondue, an app developed in 2021 which has been used in several cities to lodge complaints to get problems swiftly fixed. It is understood that the app has altered City Hall's administration style.

The governor said 206,844 out of the 285,771 complaints submitted by city people had been tackled. He also said that out of the total 260 campaign policies he had proposed, 190 had been implemented while some 20 policies are currently being modified to be made more relevant.

Mr Chadchart has gained recognition for a few initiatives, for instance, improving city safety with the implementation of the BKK Risk Map, a digital database on dangerous locations in Bangkok, while making it easier for people to gain access to CCTV footage.

He has also promoted recreation and creativity, with a series of concerts and performing arts events, outdoor screenings at parks and communities; and streamlined city services.

Yet those hoping for major and fundamental changes will have to wait a bit longer as the critical problems of traffic and PM2.5 dust linger on, and pledges of reducing the BTS Skytrain fares have yet to materialise.

It remains to be seen if he will be able to uproot the corruption at City Hall, as quite a few cases have now been uncovered.

However, Mr Chadchart should also gain from the May 14 election which saw those in the opposition bloc beat the conservative side under Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha and his military-leaning clique.

Mr Chadchart may see eye to eye more with the MFP and Pheu Thai parties, and as such will be more likely to win approval for his policies from their national government. With such favourable factors, Mr Chadchart has no excuse for not getting the job done.


Bangkok Post editorial column

These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.

Email : anchaleek@bangkokpost.co.th

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