Rabble-rouser Suthep calls for a 'truly independent' governor

Rabble-rouser Suthep calls for a 'truly independent' governor

Former protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban says he supports Bangkok governor candidate Sakoltee Phattiyakul as he is running independently. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
Former protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban says he supports Bangkok governor candidate Sakoltee Phattiyakul as he is running independently. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

Former protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban on Friday insisted that the next Bangkok governor should be independent and free from any political affiliations.

He also said he believes undecided voters will play a crucial role in deciding who will come out on top in Sunday's vote.

In an exclusive interview with the Bangkok Post, Mr Suthep said he believed the capital's residents fear that vested political interests could throw local administration into disarray.

"A Bangkok governor [with political affiliations] is likely seek to boost a political party's popularity instead of paying attention to tackling people's problems," said Mr Suthep, who led the now-defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protest movement against the Pheu Thai Party-led administration, which was subsequently toppled by the 2014 coup.

Mr Suthep reiterated that he has vouched for Bangkok governor candidate Sakoltee Phattiyakul as he is running independently.

Mr Sakoltee, who has been trailing in opinion polls, fought side by side with Mr Suthep as an active PDRC co-leader.

He has a proven track record of fighting against ''Thaksinocracy", Mr Suthep said, referring to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's deep-rooted support and continuing influence.

Mr Suthep quit the Democrat Party and co-founded the Action Coalition for Thailand (ACT) Party.

He said that campaigning had intensified in the build-up to tomorrow, adding that former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt, who is also running as an independent, has his nose in front in the polls after widespread support from users of social media platforms.

However, those who oppose "Thaksinocracy" would not vote for a man who once served as transport minister in the Pheu Thai administration of Yingluck Shinawatra, Thaksin's younger sister, Mr Suthep said.

Mr Suthep said: "I do not believe Mr Chadchart is a truly independent candidate due to his ties with Thaksin."

And of Suchatvee Suwansawa, who represents the Democrat Party, Mr Suthep gave him little chance given the party's downward spiral and lack of a single Bangkok MP.

As for Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang, who is stepping down but hoping to hang on to the role as an independent, Mr Suthep said that his experience will be a major asset.

However, Pol Gen Aswin was perceived not to have fared in recent televised debates, Mr Suthep said.

"For Mr Sakoltee, it will be good if he wins, but it's down to the voters. I personally support him because he is well-qualified for City Hall's top job,'' Mr Suthep said, adding that the former Thammasat University legal eagle had severed ties with both the Democrats and ruling Palang Pracharath Party.

His experience as secretary to Jaran Pukditanakul, a former Constitutional Court judge, burnished his credentials, said Mr Suthep.



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