Bangkok polls set for March 3
The capital's gubernatorial election has been set for March 3 and applications will be accepted from January 21 to 25, chairman of the Bangkok Election Commission Pol Maj-General Thaweesak Toochinda said yesterday.He was speaking after incumbent Sukhumbhand Paribatra said he would step down today, before his term as governor ends, and turn himself in to face charges in connection with the BTS project.
Sukhumbhand, 10 Bangkok Metropolitan Administration officials as well as Skytrain operator Krungthep Thanakom and BTS Plc have been accused of illegally operating the 30-year concession.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday that Sukhumbhand would resign and not hold a caretaker's position in the run-up to the election to prevent accusations that he is spending work hours to campaign for votes.
Pheu Thai Party secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said on Sunday that the party's executive has yet to decide on a candidate for the Bangkok election, but party deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsab said de facto party leader Thaksin Shinawatra had reportedly already announced that deputy police chief Pol General Pongsapat Pongcharoen would be suitable for the post.
During a Skype session with the party on Saturday, Thaksin reportedly said Sudarat Keyuraphan was far too valuable to be wasted as a governor, adding that she should be given a ministerial portfolio or made deputy PM in Yingluck's fourth Cabinet reshuffle.
Thaksin has also told city and district councillors to stop campaigning for Sudarat and instead shift their focus to Pongsapat.