Pattaya mayor announces poll pick
Itthipol's aide to run for city's top position
Chon Buri: Outgoing Pattaya mayor Sonthaya Kunplome said on Thursday he will field a member of his group as a candidate in the Pattaya City mayoral election in May.
Mr Sonthaya made the announcement at a press briefing on his last working day, as the Election Commission (EC) is set to announce May 22 as the date for the elections of Bangkok governor and Pattaya City mayor and council members.
He was appointed as Pattaya mayor by the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) on Sept 25, 2018.
Mr Sonthaya said he will remain involved in local and national politics as the leader of a group named Rao Rak Pattaya (We Love Pattaya).
He said he has not decided which party he will join even though Culture Minister Itthipol Kunplome is a member of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party.
Poramet Ngampichet -- assistant to the culture minister -- will contest the Pattaya City election in May, Mr Sonthaya said, expressing confidence he would win the election.
Mr Poramet said that in his view he has what it takes to become Pattaya mayor, with experience in local and national politics and connections with several agencies.
He said they would stand him in good stead if he wins the election.
"I intend to solve problems and steer Pattaya toward progress," he said.
At the briefing, Mr Sonthaya detailed what he has achieved during his three-year stint.
He said he has laid down strategies to transform Pattaya into a smart city, in addition to plans for its economic recovery after Covid-19.
He also led reporters to visit a water-drainage system on Liab Thang Rot Fai Road which he says has shown promise.
He said that during the rainy season, if there is 100 milimetres of rainfall, about 40,000 cubic metres of water will flow down from high ground to low-lying areas.
When the drainage system is completed, the water will be held in a retention pond and 60% of it will be drained to other canals, cutting the water volume flowing to Pattaya by 60% and reducing the risk of flooding, Mr Sonthaya said.
Mr Sonthaya said electric cars and motorcycles are also being trialled on Koh Lan as part of a project to make Pattaya a green city, among several other smart city projects he is behind.