March 01, 2013 00:00 By Tanatpong Kongsai The Nation
Democrat election director hopes Bangkok voters come out in full force
Ong-art Klampaiboon, the Democrat Party election director, said he hoped Bangkokians would come out in full force to vote for Sukhumbhand Paribatra and relay the message that they do not want the entire country to be controlled by just one family.
“This election has special significance because it will decide whether Bangkokians are willing to give all the power to Pheu Thai, a certain group of people or a single family,” Ong-art said.
“If the Democrat candidate wins, then it will be a message to those in power that most Bangkokians do not want to see the entire country being monopolised by one family or a certain group of people, but that they want to see a decentralisation of power. However, we are ready to accept the outcome.”
Ong-art said he hoped to see a high voter turnout because statistics show that Democrats usually win when the turnout is high.
He admitted that it was tougher for an incumbent candidate to retain his seat in comparison to new faces. He explained that a new face would always have an advantage because people will have already seen the incumbent’s performance, while people would want to test a newcomer.
Anyway, he said, the Democrat Party had mobilised its MPs and high-profile members to beg for support so the incumbent Sukhumbhand can complete his unfinished projects. Ong-art added that he expected it to be tight race.
Ong-art went on to say that “seamless cooperation with the national government” campaign motto of the Pheu Thai candidate was just a tactic.
“If cooperation was really seamless, then the Bangkok governor should not be elected but appointed by the government, like provincial governors are, so the powers that be can order them to do anything. However, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Act requires Bangkok residents to elect their own governor, so this so-called seamless cooperation will never be real,” Ong-art said.
“If the governor comes from the coalition leader, will he have to be replaced in two years if the leader of the coalition changes after general elections?” Ong-art asked.
He went on to say that the previous Bangkok governors, who were from the Democrat Party, had no problems working with the state government over the past eight years, citing governments led by Thaksin Shinawatra, Surayud Chulanont, Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat.
He added that Sukhumbhand only had problems with the Pheu Thai-led government over the past six months or so. He went on to say that he believed Pheu Thai MPs wanted to discredit Sukhumbhand ahead of the voting.
“The public learned about this much later and now the number of Democrat supporters has increased,” Ong-art said.
“Earlier, we were able to work well with the government. It always supported us but problems arose after the flooding. I’m not sure whether or not these conflicts were planned to try and influence people’s votes.”
Ong-art said the Pheu Thai candidate had promised several mass-transport systems, but these systems can only be implemented by the national government so it does not matter which party the governor comes from.
He said the party has created a new set of pink stickers to put on Sukhubhand’s campaign posters to try and win more support. The stickers carry messages like: “I work hard for Bangkokians”, “I’m honest, not a cheat”, “This Democrat stays put for Bangkokians” and “Joining forces against monopoly”.
He said Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, Sukhumbhand and other leading Democrats will gather at 6.30am to campaign at Wong Wien Yai today and hold a press conference at the Talad Plu BTS station at 3pm. The candidate’s last major campaign will be held at Benjasiri Park near the Emporium shopping mall at 4pm.