Sukhumbhand 'chosen for continuity'
Continuity and experience were the main factors behind the Democrat Party's selection of incumbent Bangkok Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra to run in the upcoming gubernatorial election, party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday.The BMA [Bangkok Metropolitan Authority] needs continuity in its work. Sukhumbhand has experience both in politics and administration, truly understands all the problems, and is able to cooperate with all mechanisms of the BMA. He can bring all sides together," Abhisit said at a press conference to announce Sukhumbhand officially as the party's candidate.
The governor has not embroiled the local administration in political conflict, which was a strong point in allowing the BMA to make progress in its work, Abhisit said.
Sukhumbhand will submit a resignation letter to the Interior Ministry before his term ends on January 10, the party leader said, adding that the Democrats had assigned deputy leader Apirak Kosayodhin to head the election campaign.
If Sukhumbhand were re-elected, the public would see greater coordination between the governor and the party, as the Democrats' executive committee had reformed its regulations on local administrative work to require the governor to report to the party more often, Abhisit said.
Sukhumbhand has been criticised for being too independent from the party. Abhisit said that if the governor were re-elected the party would closely monitor his performance.
Abhisit also said he was not worried about the Department of Special Investigation's announcement that it was preparing to charge top executives of the city administration with malfeasance over the awarding of a Bt190-billion contract to the Skytrain operator. He said the governor was ready to clarify the situation to the DSI, and he did not believe this case would become an issue during the Bangkok election campaign.
Sukhumbhand thanked the Democrat Party for trusting him to run for a second term. He said he would not act as a "caretaker" Bangkok governor, because he feared this would leave BMA officials uneasy, and said he wanted to see a transparent and fair election campaign.
Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the party's committee in charge of Bangkok areas was expected to nominate candidates for party executive positions at a seminar on January 6-7 in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima.
The executive candidates will be announced before January 10, he said.