New Bangkok Governor
Sukhumbhand set for second term with record Number of votes
The Democrat Party's candidate MR Sukhumbhand Paribatra, seeking re-election as Bangkok governor, got more than 1.1 million votes in yesterday's gubernatorial election in the city, setting a new record.His closest competitor, Pheu Thai Party's candidate Pongsapat Pongcharoen, conceded his defeat at a press conference at the ruling party's headquarters yesterday evening.
As of press time, Sukhumbhand received 1,180,673 votes, exceeding the 1,016,096 votes won by late Bangkok governor Samak Sundaravej in 2000.
Pongsapat got 1,009,068 votes. In the previous gubernatorial election four years ago, Sukhumbhand obtained 934,602 votes.
Pheu Thai also enjoyed increased support. In the previous election, Pheu Thai's Yuranand Bhamornmontri got 611,669 votes.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra offered to work closely with the new Bangkok governor in serving the city's residents, and "in a seamless way". Sukhumbhand acknowledged Yingluck's offer and promised to "work seamlessly" with her government too.
Earlier, exit poll results pointed to a narrow victory for Pongsapat - or a tight race that was headed down to the wire.
The voter turnout was over 60 per cent despite rainstorms in several parts of the capital, according to the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
Earlier, the Election Commission expected the turnout to exceed 60 per cent while the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration hoped to see a turnout of over 70 per cent.
In the exit polls conducted yesterday, Pongsapat "beat" Sukhumbhand by between 1.5 per cent and 7.4 per cent.
The poll carried out jointly by the Television Pool of Thailand and Nation and Bansomdej Chaopraya Rajabhat universities showed that 40 per cent of the voters surveyed said they had voted for Pongsapat, compared to 38.5 per cent for Sukhumbhand.
Bangkok University's exit poll had Pongsapat winning 44 per cent of the votes, compared to Sukhumbhand's 41 per cent.
The exit poll by Channel 7 showed the largest margin, with 46 per cent of votes going to Pongsapat and nearly 39 per cent to Sukhumbhand.
The poll by TV Pool, BSRU and Nation U also found that, of those who voted for Pongsapat yesterday, 3 per cent voted for the Democrat candidate in the previous governor's election four years ago, while 2 per cent of those who voted for Sukhumbhand supported Pheu Thai in the previous election.
Among those who voted for independent candidate Sereepisuth Temeeyaves, 1.4 per cent backed the Democrats, while less than 1 per cent supported Pheu Thai in the previous election, and 3.2 per cent voted for an independent. Sereepisuth was expected to be third-placed.
Polls also found that male voters preferred Pongsapat to Sukhumbhand (20 per cent against 17 per cent) while women voters preferred Sukhumbhand to Pongsapat (21.4 per cent versus 20 per cent).
Voters with monthly incomes of Bt25,000 and over, favoured Sukhumbhand and those with monthly incomes of less than Bt25,000 backed Pongsapat, the survey found.
Some "entry polls", conducted shortly before the election day, also showed that Pongsapat would win, and only an entry poll by the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida) predicted a victory for Sukhumbhand.
According to Suan Dusit Poll, conducted between Friday and yesterday among 7,080 people, Pongsapat had 49 per cent of support, compared to 39.65 per cent for Sukhumbhand, and 7 per cent for Sereepisuth.
Assumption University's Abac Poll, conducted from February 28 to Saturday on 5,713 respondents in 35 districts, showed Pongsapat winning nearly 46 per cent and Sukhumbhand 34 per cent.
Nida Poll, surveying 2,517 people from February 26 to Friday, showed Sukhumbhand winning 43 per cent, compared to Pongsapat's 41 per cent and Sereepisuth's 3 per cent.
Commenting on the difference between the survey results and the actual votes, political analysts Sukhum Nualsakul and Sukhum Chaloeysap said: "Bangkok voters again could fool pollsters."
In the July 2011 general election, exit polls suggested the Democrats performed poorly in Bangkok, but the party actually won 23 out of the 33 House seats, compared to 10 seats for Pheu Thai.