Pheu Thai mulls backing Chadchart as city governor
The Pheu Thai Party says it may opt out of the Bangkok governor election if it cannot find a candidate who can match its former party member and ex-transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt, who has decided to run as an independent candidate.
Pheu Thai deputy leader Plodprasop Suraswadi on Thursday welcomed Mr Chadchart's decision to run as an indie, calling him a man of high calibre.
Pheu Thai would never regard Mr Chadchart as a rival because he grew up with the party and is highly regarded by its members, Mr Plodprasop said.
However, the party also has a policy on its place in local politics and would field a candidate for governor if it can find one on a par with Mr Chadchart.
In the absence of such a candidate, the party would lend Mr Chadchart its moral support, Mr Plodprasop said, adding he believed the former Pheu Thai man would be willing to work with his old party to run City Hall for the benefit of Bangkok residents as a whole.
Mr Chadchart said on Wednesday that he will run for governor as an independent candidate.
He was speaking as he led a team to distribute face masks to protect the public against PM2.5 air pollution at Centerpoint in Siam Square shopping mall.
He insisted he continued to respect Pheu Thai and had not clashed with the party, nor fallen out with key figures.
However, if he was Bangkok governor he would have to work with all sides, so seeking support would be easier as an independent rather than a party-aligned candidate, Mr Chadchart said, adding Bangkok residents were fed up with politics in general rather than with any particular party.
Deputy Interior Minister Niphon Bunyamanee said on Thursday local elections are expected to take place after the 2020 fiscal budget bill becomes law.
The House's first reading of the bill will be on Oct 17 and the second and third readings are expected on Jan 28 and 29, after which it will be submitted for royal endorsement.
Once it takes effect, the Election Commission should have a budget to organise local elections, likely to take place in February next year, Mr Niphon said.
He said polls in special administrative areas such as Bangkok and Pattaya will be held first.
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, who is also chief strategist of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, said the party was in no hurry to unveil its candidate for city governor before the official poll date was known.