Sudarat vows to stand by Pongsapat
Sudarat Keyuraphan, former executive of the now-defunct Thai Rak Thai Party, yesterday pledged full support for Pheu Thai's Bangkok governor candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen.Chusak Sirinil, a key member of the Pheu Thai Party, said Sudarat would join Pongsapat's campaign on Monday after he is registered. Sudarat met the party yesterday to help draft a campaign strategy and denied she had any conflicts with Pongsapat.
However, she did not attend the event in which the party announced that it was nominating Pongsapat.
Initially, it was believed that she would run for the post of governor, though later she said she wanted to distance herself from politics and focus more on religion. She also said that Pheu Thai's Bangkok and district councillors would definitely support Pongsapat's campaign though she might not always be around. However, she added, she was willing to help if asked.
Separately, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva called on Pongsapat to resign as secretary-general of the Office of Narcotics Control Board now that he has announced his candidacy. He said stepping down now would only be fair to other candidates, especially since Pongsapat can use government mechanisms as ONCB chief and put others at a disadvantage.
Abhisit noted that Democrat candidate Sukhumbhand Paribatra had stepped down from his post as Bangkok governor in order to avoid having an upper hand over other candidates.
Pol Lt-General Thaweesak Tuchinda, chairman of the Bangkok Election Committee, said Pongsapat was not in violation of the law yet, but had to quit all official positions before Monday, when candidacy registration begins. Pongsapat stepped down as deputy police commissioner-general earlier this week.