Bangkok by-election security in place

Bangkok by-election security in place

Poll being held Sunday to replace ousted government MP Sira Jenjaka

Staff check documents and make preparations at the Lak Si District Office ahead of the by-election in Bangkok Constituency 9, which will take place on Sunday. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul, Bangkok Post)
Staff check documents and make preparations at the Lak Si District Office ahead of the by-election in Bangkok Constituency 9, which will take place on Sunday. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul, Bangkok Post)

A total of 800 police officers will be deployed to maintain order at 280 polling units during Sunday’s by-election in in northern Bangkok, police say.

Two officers will be stationed at each polling unit in Constituency 9, which covers Lak Si and Chatuchak districts, with mobile and crowd control teams on standby in case of any adverse events, said Pol Maj Gen Jirasan Kaewsaeng-ek, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB).

Officers from the Thung Song Hong, Phahon Yothin, Pracha Chuen, Sutthisan and Bang Khen police stations will be involved in the security campaign.

The poll is being held to replace Sira Jenjaka, a member of the governing Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) who lost his MP status because of a fraud conviction in 1995. His party is expected to face trouble holding on to the seat.

A ban on sales of alcoholic beverages will take effect in the constituency from 6pm on Saturday through Sunday, he said.

Unofficial results of the by-election are expected by 10pm, five hours after the polls close, said Samran Tanphanit, director of the Election Commission for Bangkok.

Ballot boxes, booths and related materials have been delivered to the polling units in Lak Si and Chatuchak. Staff have been reminded to monitor and prevent voters from taking photos of their ballots or tearing them up, Mr Samran said.

Although people are advised to wear face masks in public places for Covid-19 prevention, those who come to vote will be required remove or lower their masks for a few moments so that their identity can be verified, he said.

Political parties wrapped up their campaigning on Saturday before polling stations open at 8am the following day.

Surachart Thienthong, the candidate of the opposition Pheu Thai Party, joined party leader Cholnan Srikaew and supporters on a pickup truck that toured Lak Si and Chatuchak districts throughout the day.

With Pheu Thai being one of the favourites according to pollsters, Mr Surachart, the son of political veteran Sanoh Thienthong, expressed his confidence and hoped voters would give him a chance to represent them.

Atavit Suwannapakdee of the new Kla Party is also among the frontrunners. He and his team were campaigning at the Pracha Niwet market and other areas in Chatuchak, while party leader Korn Chatikavanij, a former Democrat Party member, was calling on residents in Lak Si to back the Kla candidate.

Mr Atavit said some people may see his party as being on the government’s side, but any outcome of this by-election would not have implications for the prime minister’s post.

The PPRP is fielding Sira’s wife, Saralrasmi Jenjaka. She and her husband took turns making speeches from the back of a pickup truck in Lak Si and Chatuchak on Saturday.

Mrs Saralrasmi said that if she becomes an MP, she and her husband would continue to look after them like a family.

Sira, known mainly for the frequent publicity stunts he staged while in office, lost his MP status following a Constitutional Court ruling in December.

The court ruled that Sira should never have been eligible to stand as an MP in the March 2019 election because of a fraud conviction in 1995.


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