Chadchart mulls running for city governor post

Chadchart mulls running for city governor post

Former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt has declared he is ready to run as an independent candidate in the Bangkok gubernatorial elections expected mid-next year.

However, Mr Chadchart said he will first gauge his popularity before making a final decision. During his visit to the Rong Moo community in Klong Toey district yesterday, Mr Chadchart said he has been compiling issues affecting Bangkok residents for seven months now.

He said he has spoken to residents and come away with many ideas on how to improve the city's administration, adding that some of the issues he encountered have not been formulated into policies yet.

Mr Chadchart, who served as transport minister under the Yingluck Shinawatra administration, said his candidacy in the gubernatorial race will in no way be linked to Pheu Thai Party, which is now leading the opposition bloc.

He said that as an independent candidate, he would distance himself from political conflict, which will help him win a sizeable pool of supporters in Bangkok disenchanted by the current state of politics.

Mr Chadchart added that a Bangkok governor has to work in close cooperation with many agencies, the private sector and people's groups to materialise urban development policies.

"Running as an independent will win wider support and I will be able to work with greater flexibility," he said. "That said, I currently have no political support base to speak of. It's down to zero and it's going to be a tough call."

Once the election date is set, he said, he will conduct a popularity survey to see if there is enough support behind him. "I'll need to assess my chances," he said.

Mr Chadchart said he has not discussed his potential foray into the governor's contest with his party and that his visit to the Rong Moo community was not financed by the party. He said his poll strategies were devised by him, though some campaign practices were modelled on those of Pheu Thai.

Meanwhile, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said yesterday the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) is hopeful of winning the governor election.

Several PPRP members have long-established careers in the City Hall, namely incumbent deputy Bangkok governor Sakoltee Phattiyakul, Digital Economy and Society Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta and Mr Nataphol's wife, Taya. Both Mr Buddhipongse and Ms Taya previously served as deputy Bangkok governors. "We have a strong team that is familiar with Bangkok administration," he said.

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