Tue, May 24, 2022

in-focus

Bangkok by-election 'too close to call' amid huge generation gap


Surveys by political parties contesting Sunday’s by-election in Bangkok indicate a close-run race, with young-generation voters favouring one candidate and older voters leaning toward others.

The by-election is being held in Constituency 9 – Lak Si district and part of Chatuchak district – after its ruling party MP Sira Jenjaka (Palang Pracharath) was disqualified by the Constitutional Court.

Parties have conducted their own public surveys to evaluate the strong and weak points of their candidates. Results seen by The Nation show a marked generation gap in voters’ attitudes.

The surveys found that 60-70 per cent of voters aged 18-25 preferred Move Forward Party candidate Krunphol Tiansuwan.

The rest are expected to vote for Pheu Thai candidate Surachart Thianthong or Kla Party’s Atavit Suwannapakdee.

The surveys found that voters aged 26 to 35 favour no particular candidate, though Krunphol may receive a slightly larger share of their votes.

Meanwhile people aged 36 to 60 – the largest group of voters in Constituency 9 – prefer Pheu Thai’s Surachart and Atavit of Kla. The rest of their votes are expected to be shared among Krunphol and Palang Pracharath candidate Saralras Jenjaka, according to surveys.

Voters aged 60 and above lean towards Phanthep Chatnarat, candidate for the conservative and royalist Thai Phakdee, a new party.

But many voters from this group also support Surachart, a political veteran in this constituency.

The surveys also found a large group of undecided voters and voters angry with the government. These people said they would vote for various leading candidates – except Palang Pracharath’s Saralras.

On the strong and weak points of leading candidates, the surveys found that the popularity of Phanthep rests on the royalist platform of his party rather than his personal credentials.

But Atavit of the Kla Party is a former MP for the constituency, so has built up personal popularity.

Meanwhile the Kla Party is popular thanks to its co-founder, former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij.

Pheu Thais’ Surachart enjoys strong support in Constituency 9, where he received 32,115 votes at the last election and was only narrowly beaten by Sira.

Krunphol is popular among young voters both for his personality and Move Forward Party’s liberal platform.

Surveys indicate that prospects for Saralras, the wife of Sira, are bleak because she has no political clout of her own and depends on the popularity of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, which is reeling from reports of internal rifts.

Published : January 28, 2022

By : THE NATION