Pheu thai's wichian vows 'No more fiascos' in udon thani pao election

Pheu thai's wichian vows 'No more fiascos' in udon thani pao election

A fierce race in Udon Thani will come to a head today when former Pheu Thai list MP Wichian Khaokham fights to become the provincial administration organisation chairman against three others.

Political observers view the PAO election as a test of the popularity of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who supports Mr Wichean as the new PAO chair in the province, dubbed the red shirts' capital.

Mr Wichean also has support from Pheu Thai list MP Pracha Promnok and red shirt leader Kwanchai Praipana.

The three other candidates are Harnchai Theekhathananon, the former Udon Thani PAO chair who is standing for the Nakhon Makkhaeng Group; Kiratikarn Pimanmekin, daughter of former Pheu Thai MP Suratin Pimanmekin; and Surachart Chamnarnsilp, a former Pheu Thai MP.

Mr Wichean's strongest rival is former PAO chairman Mr Harnchai, who has been municipality mayor three times.

Mr Wichian has said that the Udon Thani election will not be a repeat of Pheu Thai's humiliating loss in the Pathum Thani PAO chair election earlier this year.

Election Commission member Prapan Naigowit yesterday inspected the readiness of the election booths and instructed poll officials to strictly enforce election laws as Udon Thani is a large province and competition for the PAO seat is intense.

Mr Prapan said an unofficial result is expected at about 9pm.

Udon Thani election commission chief Somkiat Kerdjongrak said about 3,000 police officers will be deployed to keep order during the poll.

Meanwhile, voters from Udon Thani's constituency 2 yesterday submitted a petition to the EC, asking the poll agency to investigate alleged misconduct by Social Development and Human Security Ministry officials who handed money to villagers on Friday.

The complainants suspected the cash hand-out was aimed at influencing voters ahead of today's election.

In another local election, four candidates will stand for Pattaya mayor in Chon Buri province today. Four candidates are vying for the seat: incumbent Ittipol Khunploem, Udomsak Chuenkrut, Su-inee Piandee, and Supakit Sureerattanakul.

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