Public unity 'key', says capital's new governor
Bangkok governor-elect Chadchart Sittipunt wants city residents to band together in making the capital liveable again.
Unity was the message that dominated Mr Chadchart's wish list as he and his twin brother, Dr Chanchai Sittipunt, an associate professor and dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University, celebrated their 56th birthdays on Tuesday.
Two days on from his landslide victory in the gubernatorial election, Mr Chadchart said he wanted nothing more than to see people in Bangkok "put our quarrels aside and love one another" as he sets about fulfilling the 214 pledges he made on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon denied he was partly to blame for the ruling Palang Pracharath Party's (PPRP) defeat at the weekend.
Party leader Gen Prawit was responding to questions about the poor PPRP showing in the council polls held the same day, in which its candidates captured only two of 50 seats. Its arch rival, the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, walked away with 20.
Early this week, Dr Warong Dechgitvigrom, leader of the Thai Pakdee Party, said the defeat could be traced to the "three Pors" -- Gen Prawit, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda. Dr Warong said the three most powerful figures in the government were indecisive and lacked unity, which effectively undermined the PPRP's political strength.
On Tuesday, Gen Prawit defended the party, which did not field a candidate for governor, and blamed prevailing public sentiment and the dynamics of local elections.
The deputy premier declined to comment on whether the result was a reflection of Gen Prayut's popularity as prime minister.
Meanwhile, Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin, who is also the PPRP director, said the government has had to endure an unfortunate sequence of events. "It's one crisis on top of another. We should be fair in our assessment," he said.
Mr Suchart said he did not think the outcome of Sunday's governor poll could be called a landslide victory despite the governor-elect managing to rake in 1.3 million votes.
He said Mr Chadchart's campaign promises were now his "boss" but admitted the PPRP has a lot of work to do. "The PPRP MPs will need to maintain closer contact with their constituents," he said.
Also on Tuesday, Democrat leader Jurin Laksanawisit said his party had perhaps made more gains that it expected, and its supporters had not all jumped ship. His optimism was seen as a reference to the sex abuse scandal involving former deputy leader Prinn Panitchpakdi.
The party won nine Bangkok council seats, just one below target.
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