Pheu Thai, Kla 'lead by-election battle'

Pheu Thai, Kla 'lead by-election battle'

A motorcyclist drives past a polling station in Lak Si district set up for the by-election on Sunday. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
A motorcyclist drives past a polling station in Lak Si district set up for the by-election on Sunday. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Sunday's by-election in Bangkok is likely to be a two-horse race between the Pheu Thai and the Kla parties, according to a political analyst.

Stithorn Thananithichot, director of the Office of Innovation for Democracy at King Prajadhipok's Institute, said the contest in Constituency 9 looks set to be a showdown between two veterans -- Surachart Thienthong of Pheu Thai and Atavit Suwannapakdee of the Kla Party.

Saralrasmi Jenjaka, a candidate put up by the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) to defend the seat formerly held by her husband, Sira, is seen as having a slim chance despite engaging PPRP leader and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon in the lead-up.

Constituency 9 covers Laksi and part of Chatuchak districts.

The by-election was called after Sira was recently disqualified by the Constitutional Court. It ruled him ineligible to contest the previous 2019 election due to a fraud conviction handed down by the Pathumwan District Court in 1995 along with an eight-month jail term.

Mr Stithorn said the odds are slightly in favour of Mr Atavit, secretary-general of the Kla Party and a former MP for Laksi and Chatuchak districts.

This is because the Democrat Party has stayed out of the race and the PPRP's support base is likely to be divided between Mr Atavit, Ms Saralrasmi and the candidate from the Thai Phakdee Party, he said.

An unofficial result of the by-election is expected around 10pm, five hours after the polls close, according to an election official.

Samran Tanpanich, director of Bangkok's election office, said votes will be counted at the polling units and the tallies sent to the Laksi district office.

He said the election office expects a high turnout in this contest, the capital's first since the 2019 general election.

The Office of the Election Commission said 167,649 people are eligible to vote in the constituency, which has 280 polling units.

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